The Valley Line

As I write this, it is too darn hot even though I have air conditioning. Forget about going outside to run errands because the thought of running to and from the car to wherever I'm going in this heat is more than I can bear.

Seems summer just caught up with us about two months late. You warm weather fans I hope you are loving the sizzle.

I hear from Mary and Daryal Gant that the annual Kiwanis wine and beer tasting event went very well last Sunday at Memorial Park in spite of the fact that it was 102 degrees in the shade. At least it cooled down from the 107 degrees of the day before. The real trick was trying to find some shade!

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It was an exceptional summer event recently for the folks who live on lower Oakwood Avenue between Foothill and Berkshire. More than 80 neighbors brought their children and coolers filled with cold beverages, assortments of hors d'oeuvres and side dishes for the street's third annual block party.

They got permits from the city to close the street off to traffic and then set up the tables and chairs right down the center of the road.

Helping to coordinate the event were Jerri Pih, who sent out the invitations and got the city permits for the road closure; Jennifer Johnson, who made up the name tags and signed in the families as they arrived; Mary Ashford, whose task it was to do a little extra food shopping and Orsi Crawford, who made the arrangements for the table and chair rentals.

Stacey Smersfelt coordinated the reservations and was the block party chief coordinator. Lindsay Becker and Susan Peterman were hardly ever still as they were doing a multitude of things to make certain the day was tons of fun.

The Smersfelts' Foosball table was a big hit with the kids, as was the "bounce house" that the younger kids liked.

A taco food wagon was hired for the party. Of course, tacos — made with chicken, beef and fish — were the focus of the menu but there were also rice and refried beans to enhance the Mexican feast.

The folks on lower Oakwood have this "getting to know your neighbor" down to a fun science. They are already looking forward to the 4th annual block party.

Some of the families attending the party were: Ajalat, Ashford, Becker, Boyd, Bridges, Buck, Deme, Goldstein, Goodwin, Johnson, Kiely, Kim, Lamont, McCune, Nicol, Olmedo, Pih, Porter, Preiss, Raymond, Restivo, Smersfelt, Stone, Swick, Van Dellen and Wehrle.

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In preparation for this weekend's gala, "A Night at the Taj," a benefit for the Pacific Asia Museum, a lovely donor party was held at Granite Park Place luxury condominium's party room in Pasadena.

The gala that will be held at a private club in downtown L.A. is the museum's 33rd annual Festival of the Autumn Moon.

Katherine Murray-Morse, interim director of the museum, welcomed the guests. She, in turn, introduced Temo Arjani, who will be honored at the gala for his service to the museum and the community.

It was a temperate summer eve as party-goers were already tempted by seeing so many beautiful objects artfully arranged on display tables — just a small preview of some of the things that will go up for auction at the gala.

Adene Sweet, a La Cañada resident and loyal museum volunteer, was a knowledgeable "docent" as she talked about unique Chinese antique auction items that guests will be bidding on during gala night.

I also had a wonderful conversation with La Cañada resident and museum supporter Sue Komarek, who is a licensed acupuncturist/herbalist in Pasadena.

"A Night at the Taj," will be celebrating the diversity and richness of the Indian and Pakistani cultures — it promises to be a jewel-like evening.

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