Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Heather and Patrick!!

Today is the birthday of my two youngest children, Heather and Patrick. They are what we call , Irish twins. Born on the same day one year apart. I hope you have a wonderful day and an amazing year!

On another note...

R.I.P. Michael.
Michael Jackson is returning to Neverland for a memorial and public viewing. In case you may not know, the Santa Ynez Valley consists of several very small stops in the road- Santa Ynez, Ballard, Los Olivos, and two very small 'cities' - Solvang and Buellton. All consisting of about 20,000 people spread around in small enclaves consisting of a mostly rural environment. There is a lot of wealth in this area - thoroughbred, arabian, miniature, warmblood horse ranches; and lest we forget, a lot of vineyards. And way too many wine tasting rooms, especially in Los Olivos, a quiet upscale colony of about 700. To make a long story short, Neverland is a few miles up the road from Los Olivos.

Residents, emergency staff, business people are being prepared for the onslaught of visitors that will arrive tomorrow and Friday and probably over the July 4th weekend. Volunteer health workers are being scheduled to offer assistance for visitors who are overtaken by the emotion of the moment, as well as the predicted 90 degree heat. I'm telling myself, get to the grocery store now, because there will be no food left by the weekend.

Some friends from Salt Lake City were visiting yesterday and I was showing them the area (before knowing the MJ memorial would be here). It is beautiful, colorful, quaint - fun to show to people. The miniature horses and their babies were out in the pastures, the vineyards were bright green with promise of a luscious crop, the peach and plum and berry picking farms were gearing up for sales, the lavender fields were displaying their beautiful purple haze, the two block western town of Santa Ynez was looking western; Ballard was looking its quaint Victorian self; and Los Olivos was filling up with Porta-Potties. All the parking spaces in town were filled. Undoubtedly the wine tasting rooms were loving it.

Problem is, this area must once again try to handle the thousands and thousands of people who will be swarming in for the next several days. Solvang has hosted huge crowds for the Amgen Bicycle Tour and other big biking events, so it's not unknown how to deal with this. The cost to the county of Santa Barbara will be great and the county is teetering on the edge of being broke. Kind of like Michael.

We will hunker down this weekend - go to the parade in Solvang, and then come home and enjoy the celebrations of the Fourth from our own backyard.

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