The Hostess with the Mostess (Anxiety)

The snowbird season in San Carlos is in full swing.  Besides an influx of folks from north of the border, the winter months also bring numerous opportunities to support many of the wonderful causes near and dear to the hearts of the people who call San Carlos home.  Wednesday was no exception, as the Sociedad Benefactora y Protectora de Animales de San Carlos held their annual Luncheon and Fashion Show at the San Carlos Plaza Hotel.

thumbnailI was in charge of ordering tickets for my group of friends this year.  Not a problem, until I received a “Hostess Guide” in my ticket envelope explaining my responsibilities.  (Note to self:  Lauren is calling for tickets next year.)  Many women “buy” a table and invite their friends for the afternoon of furry friends and fashion.  They then create an incredible theme and decorate their tables and design costumes.  Our group did not fill a table, therefore I assumed we would be seated with another smaller group, not realizing that hostess duties would still be required.  Okay, actually I was hoping that the other smaller group would be in charge of this part.  I can plan a Halloween Party for 27 students in 30 minutes, but for some reason I found the task of organizing a table for the luncheon somewhat overwhelming.

Overwhelming because the one thing I am incredibly OCD about is themes.  (Well, in addition to how the bed is made, towels are folded, and bathmats are laid out on the floor.)  I think it must be a teacher thing that has carried over from my classroom to birthdays, Christmas and other holidays, and now apparently, tables at a charity fundraiser.

The hostess was required to provide a centerpiece for the table, plates, napkins, cutlery, thumbnail
and glassware.  Placements and chair decor were optional.  I decided on a traditional Mexican theme, and matched the colors of the paper flowers in the centerpiece to the colors of my Fiestaware dishes.  But…the day before the event, I spent the afternoon in Guaymas trying desperately to find clay plates and mugs.  (In the true spirit of my theme, you know?)  My go-to-store had apparently decided that clay was out and Tupperware was  in.  Another shop had plates, but the design did not match the one on the pieces I already owned.  (Oops, another item for the OCD list!)  I was stuck with the Fiestaware.

Glassware was another issue.  We have coffee mugs and milk glasses, none of which are very fancy or traditionally Mexican.  A friend loaned me some colorful wine glasses.  Interestingly, I could have skipped this part entirely.  It was listed no where in my “Hostess Guide” that I would need to bring beverages.  Come to find out, the hotel only provided drinks for sale.  Ha!  Before I knew this,  I blew my money on raffle tickets.  And my poor mother lost her coin purse as soon as we arrived that morning.  I may have been the first hostess in the history of the event to dehydrate her guests!  I asked two different waiters if we could have a pitcher of water in my most polite, grammatically correct Spanish.   Tap water even!  I was not going to be picky at this point.  But, both shook their heads sadly.  At any rate the glasses looked great with the plates and flowers, and we had one less thing to wash when it was all over.

thumbnail-1There was not much I could do regarding silverware.  It would have been entirely inappropriate to expect my guests to use corn tortillas, which would have made the most sense authentically speaking.  I did have a tortilla warmer sitting on the table.  One hopeful guest kept looking inside it, as if by magic wine or water would appear.

Throughout the show, ideas kept popping into my head of what I could have done or added.  It did not help that some of the tables and costumes were so elaborately done.  There was obviously a lot of planning involved that took much longer than a week to work out.  I started making a mental list so I was better prepared the next time.  Water, headwear, water…   And then I remembered.  I am not calling for the tickets next year.  Lauren is.

(Part 1/3)

This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Bingo!

This past weekend the San Carlos Rotary held their annual Cow Plop Bingo event to raisethumbnail-3 money for facility and equipment needs at the primary and secondary Ranchitos schools in San Carlos.  True, I am a midwest girl, and Indiana does have a lot of farms.  But the state rates in the top five nationally for production of corn and soybeans.  And animals raised include swine, poultry, and, recently, fish.  So, Bingo with cows was not something I had experienced before.  While the name is somewhat self explanatory, I was very eager to see how exactly this would work.

thumbnail-2The very first thing I observed when we arrived was the Bingo board.  It was painted on a large, open tract of land in the desert.  There were so many squares!  I thought I had purchased plenty of tickets, but after seeing the board, I knew this was going to be a crapshoot.  (Pardon my pun.) The board was marked off with yellow police tape.   Hmmm.  I hoped the cows understood what the tape meant.  Just in case they did not, there were vaqueros mounted on horseback; their lassos at the ready.

About every hour or so, a cow was led onto the playing field to wander around.  He was thumbnail-1surrounded by cowboys, who apparently knew the police tape was just for show.  The idea was that the cow would poo, and the person whose ticket matched the square the poo landed in would win part of the day’s jackpot.  Well, going to the bathroom in front of a large crowd, whether you are a human or a cow, can be a tad intimidating.  So, sometimes it took a while.

While the crowd waited for the action, they danced and sang to the festive music blasting from speakers.  Horses even got into the celebration, showing off their fancy footwork.  There were ribs, hot dogs, and elote, slathered with mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, and tajín to snack on.  Beer, water, and soft drinks were sold.  Pickup trucks were parked along the sides of the Bingo board.  Families sat in the beds enjoying the picnics they had packed and thumbnailsharing coolers of Tecate.

One women became so impatient with the cow, she charged up on stage, grabbed the mike from the emcee, and began demanding that the cow “go”.  The crowd joined in, chanting with her.   Other observers waved their arms over their heads to get the cow’s attention and then pointed at their squares.  Yes, watching Cow Plop Bingo was a bit like watching golf.  After about forty-five minutes, we had a winner!  Well, several winners.  Nervous cows do not plop, they spray!

Needless to say, I did not win one of the three jackpots.  I will  bring my Troll dolls next time or find a lucky cowboy hat!  It was a wonderful day of community and strong show of support for our youngest members.  And truly, that is the best prize.