Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2021

Saturday Retreat Recap

by Betty Woo & Leslie Golden

On Saturday, September 25th, in spite of Covid restrictions (more about that later) we managed to have an in-person retreat that felt every bit as warm and welcoming as our yearly Westerbeke gatherings. Enjoying perfect weather, we gathered on Leslie Golden’s terrace with stunning unobstructed views of the city far below and Mt. Diablo in the distance. Seated at large, generously spaced umbrella-shaded tables, we enjoyed gourmet boxed lunches of chicken, salmon or portabella mushroom salads and fruit. In that idyllic setting, the group fell happily and instantly into the easy camaraderie of past retreats.

As is usual custom, we each took turns introducing ourselves to the group. It always amazes me what a professionally diverse, rich group of women with a very wide age range. It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm of our younger members and the diversity of fields they have selected.

Leslie’s instruction to shuffle the seating groups for the art project made the most of this gift of time together. Everyone then enthusiastically got to work turning out playful and artistic painted rocks. As usual for the OWA+DP retreat, the results were beautiful and strikingly varied. The variety ranged from the museum-worthy, intricately filigreed design by Kathleen Cruise to my simple sleeping kitty that took just a few seconds and every conceivable variation in between.

We also took advantage of Leslie’s pool which, although unheated, was considerably warmer than the Westerbeke pool. The glittering blue water called to us while some danced Salsa to music piped to garden speakers from the house stereo. Galen Cranz led the pool crowd, the rest of us soon followed. Not even the dancers could resist the call of the water. I was particularly impressed by the fossil and shell-encrusted boulders placed around the pool. Leslie explained that the hilltop her house occupied once sat under the ocean and all those magnificent boulders were dug out of the earth on-site.

The set-up for Covid couldn’t have been more ideal. Since most carpooled, parking worked well. Outside, Gilda Puente-Peters issued name tags, checked off vaccination cards and gave directions to the “loo” just inside the front door. Leslie had blocked off access to the rest of the house and the path through the door led directly to the dining room, where we stowed purses and bags, and straight out to the terrace, thereby limiting indoor contact.

My gratitude goes Leslie for hosting and to the steering committee for bringing us together. It meant a lot to finally see and speak to each other in person. These conversations allowed us to confide, ask advice and seek the connections that we most value about the OWA+DP. And as a bonus, we were able to recruit four new members for the steering committee, hooray!

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