The almond dust settles

September 22, 2002

Roni keeps in touch with the rest of her committee during the Oakley Almond Festival. Photo by Glenn.
Phew! That's just us catching our collective breath following another busy month around the Gehlke homestead. As many of you know if you follow these newsletters regularly, the month leading up to the Oakley Almond Festival is always a hectic one. Our involvement runs the gamut from designing and printing the festival's program guide to picking up wine cases, ordering T-shirts, distributing advertising and publicity packets and more. Roni, as the festival's co-chairperson this year, did her best to put out all the little brush fires that pop up with putting on such a big annual event. She spent more time that she cares to think about attending volunteer rallies, picking up health permits and answering the questions of vendors who called needing assistance.

So, by the weekend of the festival, it is little wonder that we are pretty exhausted. Roni put in three marathon days between Sept. 13 and 15 helping with setup, teardown and the day-to-day operations of the show. She had to do double-duty as official photographer, as Glenn caught an ill-timed flu bug and spent most of the weekend at home nursing a runny nose while trying to find new ways to play solitaire with Ben. They did manage to get to the Almond Parade on Saturday morning, but Glenn was nonetheless disappointed that he wasn't feeling up to sticking around for the rest of the fun.

Roni says that one of the weekend's high points was when the festival put on a Saturday night outdoor movie performance of "Monsters Inc." that was attended by well over 1,000 people, many of them families. Those who attended the show had a great time, which as any festival volunteer can tell you is what makes the job worthwhile.

Ben checks out the view from the observation tower at Delicato winery. Photo by Glenn.
However, all good things eventually come to an end, and after spending the last three years heavily involved with the festival's production Roni has decided it's time to take another break. She is hoping some dedicated person will come forward to coordinate the 2003 festival and keep the community tradition alive.

This newsletter comes to you as Glenn begins a two-week vacation that he has been awaiting for a long time. Things have been getting intense at the newspaper with the election preview section as the publication deadline looms a month away. Last week was a scramble as he tried to wrap up loose ends before leaving vacation, knowing that a marathon work week awaits his return in early October. He is confident that all the deadlines will be met.

There are few concrete plans for this vacation, although we are hoping to do some work around the house. The largest tasks on the honey-do list involve remodeling Ben's room -- where we will be repainting the walls and re-covering the floor -- and replanting the back lawn. Our back yard has fallen into a sad state of neglect this past year, but we are hopeful that with some elbow grease and a little ingenuity we can turn it back into something useful. Roni is talking about turning the garden area over to grape vineyards. Grapes have always done well in Oakley's sandy soil, and we have had some luck with red flames and other varieties the past three years.

We learned this month that Ben has been accepted into the Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) program at his school, which theoretically should open some opportunities for him. He scored well on his STAR test last spring, which qualified him for admission. We attended a GATE workshop last week to learn more about the program and hear from other parents whose children are also in the program.

Glenn has been great making progress on his music collection, although not such great progress on his writing. In the case of the former, he now has 55 percent of all the Billboard Top 100s from 1960-99. That's roughly 2,200 out of 4,000 songs (and about 25 gigabytes of hard drive capacity). In the case of the latter Glenn hasn't given up, but his novel is on hold while he works out plot problems and prepares for another run at National Novel Writing Month this November. Roni is also hoping to tackle NaNoWriMo again, so it should be a fall filled with wordiness for both of us.

And speaking of wordiness, this month's missive has reached the point where we'll consider it done. We'll visit again in October.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

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