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Recently, it occurred to me that I should probably start printing my past blog posts. Keeping them only on the internet and on my computer just isn’t a great idea.

As my pile of papers grew to a teetering tower with six years’ worth of weekly posts. I chose to randomly re-read past writings. I was startled. I’m used to looking forward not backward. I was reading about thoughts and ideas I’d had over the past six years.

The varied topics I touched upon gave me some ideas, ideas I want to explore to see if I can turn them into more blog posts or another book. Either way, I’m excited about exploring the possibilities.

What that means is I am going to repost some blogs, over the next few weeks. I may be changing them or not, but on Friday mornings you will continue to get my blogs. And I’ll keep you informed as to what I’m doing.

What Really Goes On At My House

I am under the assumption that everyone involved in the incident documented below spends their days working for a living—especially my husband whose office is upstairs. But, while I’m working, and I mean really working on my book, all members of the afore-mentioned workers were actually hard at work with the following transcribed correspondence.

(I think it is best to not name names, but for your clarity, I will say two of these characters are related to me, including the big boss and D1. The others, known only as D2 and D4, may or may not be known as daughters 2 and 4—as I must protect privacy or face unknown consequences.)

Setting: The backyard pool.

Disclaimer: No money has ever been exchanged at any time for the use of said pool.

Advisory: Everyone involved is an adult and at least one should know better.

The following evidence, or series of emails, will reveal: well, you can decide for yourself.

June 1, 2020

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Dear members, We are pleased to announce that the 2020 summer season of the Briarcliff Manor Swim and Lunch Club will open on June 19th.

We plan a large group of socially-distanced activities for this season, including a Rose drinking weekend, a beer-drinking weekend, a white wine-drinking weekend, and of course our red wine-drinking weekend.

We are also pleased to announce that annual dues will remain the same for the 2020 season.

Sincerely, Camp Director

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Dear Director of the Briarcliff Manor Swim and Lunch Club: I am thrilled to hear that the Briarcliff Manor Swim and Lunch Club will be celebrating its 7th (WOW) summer of fun. I am also absolutely over the moon to hear that the annual dues have not mirrored our country's rapid rate of inflation. However, I have some minor requests that should be manageable with these annual dues.

  1. Chicken burgers (non-negotiable)

  2. Cheeto PUFFS (none of this crunch nonsense)

  3. Organic sunscreen (for all our benefit)

  4. An umbrella that does not resemble a washed-up ballerina’s tutu

  5. Extra hot dog stockpile for D2 only

Nothing too crazy. I did purchase my own high-quality beach chair this season, so I can write you an invoice for that.

Blessings to all, let the summer begin.

Love D 4

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Dear demanding member. I believe we can assed [sic; accede?] to your list of demands except for cheese puffs. The thought of some inflated, mushy impostor revolts the standards committee of the club and was summarily rejected in a recently held emergency meeting of said body. I also personally interceded with the membership committee that was considering suspending your membership for making such a recommendation.

For the committee, I remain

The Director

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Dear Esteemed Director, This is fabulous news and I will plan my weekend travel accordingly.

A few notes re: Member D4's last e-mail (I will respond in itemized order):

  1. **Can we have both???

  2. I LOVE the umbrella although we could upgrade...

  3. **THANK YOU!

That is all. I'll be on the lookout for the dues invoice.

Respectfully, Member D2

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Fellow Summer Club Members and Committee Members:

Please accept my sincerest apology for such a horrendous request. Hindsight is 20/20. Cheetos are in fact ok, and I appreciate the committee's dedication to upholding the traditions of this club and this country.

However, I will not digress on the issue of the umbrella. This UmbrellaGate fiasco will not go unheard.

D 4

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Dear Dictator, (whoops I mean director)

Thank you for the 2020 season kick-off email. I'm very glad to hear our dues are not going up and that the quality and frequency of events will remain. I would like to request a White Claw day along with putting them on the permanent menu. They're a little easier on the thighs.

I am in agreement with Member Fry and Member Rosen. While Big Bird's dead cousin has served us well for many years (and has provided many laughs) I have noticed that it's starting to shed more which cannot be good for the environment. I also would like to point out that with global warming's effects and the sun's increased strength, I am concerned the wear and tear gives us much greater risk and exposure to harmful UV rays.

Additionally, I do have some health and safety concerns with the current global pandemic going on.

1) What measures/procedures have been put in place to assure that your staff is adequately protected from the virus, ensuring the safety of your members? 2) Will masks be required for guests? Thanks, Member D1

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Please be assured that our staff has been in quarantine for all most 12 weeks and show no sign of infection although one exhibits a mild form of dementia now and then.

Masks are not required although we are looking for a thermometer.

Based upon some unruly members' complaints, we are investigating new sun protection equipment. We have engaged a Sun consulting firm to conduct an extensive survey and prepare a report with recommendations.

The Director

SUBJECT: RE: BRIARCLIFF MANOR SWIM AND LUNCH CLUB Thank you to the staff for their continued support & stringent efforts to ensure our health and safety.

Regards, D2

The following are text messages that were sent on opening day June 19, 2020

Written by the shaggy yellow umbrella aka Big Bird, yellow tiki umbrella, a washed-up ballerina’s tutu, and Senior Umbrella Dear members of the Briarcliff Swim and lunch club. First, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love expressed by the members. But I must apologize for the incorrect communications surrounding my move to “SENIOR UMBRELLA” status at the club.

As the senior umbrella of the club, I will assume responsibility for training the new staff, (our new orange addition), overseeing future gatherings, and of course representing the club at the annual world club umbrella conference in Provence this year!

This will be my first trip abroad after successful trips to Martha's Vineyard and the Jersey Shore and I am looking forward to it

I will keep all club members apprised of my adventures in future club newsletters.

Written by D-2 Director, I have been notified that you have purchased a new umbrella. Although I wish you’d consulted first. I recognize my need to adapt, grow, and change. As our small local business advances, I support upgrades as long as they are within our yearly budget (although I think we should get a tax write-off for this purchase--seems only fair to expense it).

That being said, never change who YOU are. You are our staple and beacon of stability during these already ever-changing times. So, if it’s all right with you, I am still going to envision you as my gay dad walking down the beach with your yellow tiki umbrella.

Enjoy this glorious weekend. Happy Father’s Day!!!!

Written by BFF down the street Director, I would like to add that I am quite upset about the umbrella debacle, although I know some members had voted for change. I would like to know the brand of the iconic big bird umbrella to potentially grace us once again with its presence in the future.

Written by The Director – We appreciate the club's support during these difficult times of change. We’re out walking Bentley the dog, but the Director will have an official press statement when we’re back.

Written by D-4 Honestly 10/10 for effort, items picked, and overall great example of decorum on the committee’s end.


What about you?

How is your family staying entertained during the summer? Leave a comment and let me know. Merci

P.S. My husband has discovered shopping online. The other day three boxes arrived.

At the end of the day, I went out on the deck, with two gin and tonics (our drink this summer) and a plate filled with pumpernickel bread; I spread with Alouette cheese, topped with smoked salmon, a bit of fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon.

I found The Director surrounded by a gigantic yellow duck wearing sunglasses that he was attempting to blow up with the help of an electric inflator that, thank goodness, came with it. I glanced over at the pool to find two pineapple floats already making their way around the water. I handed him his drink, shaking my head, with a smile on my face--it's the little things.

GIN AND TONIC (OR G & T) 1 part gin (This is how we serve it. You can make it up to 2 to 3 parts if you prefer.) 3 parts tonic water Ice Lime, quartered

I fill the glass with ice to chill it Add the gin, and the tonic water to your glass. Squeeze the lime and add it to the glass. Mix well and serve. SMOKED SALMON APPETIZERS Serves: As appetizers, I assume 4 to 6 per person, depending on what else you are serving Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: Slices of cocktail-size pumpernickel bread (2” x 2”) Alouette garlic and herbs is a soft spreadable cheese imported from France. It is light and delicious and available in most grocery stores. Smoked Salmon Dill Lemon


  1. Spread the Alouette on the bread.

  2. Cut a piece of smoked salmon the size of the bread and place on top.

  3. Place a little dill on top.

  4. Finish by squeezing lemon on all of the slice

Optional: to make smaller pieces, you can cut each square in half diagonally and place on a serving plate.

à bientôt,


Are you planning to BBQ this summer?

Find out how to add flavors and make simple sauces. Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook will show you how.

Le Kitchen Cookbook

A Workbook

Everything you need to know to be a good cook.

by Adeline M. Olmer

Your comments really help others make confident decisions

Could you take a moment to write a review? xox Merci


Bon Appétit
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14 jul. 2023
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This was hilarious! Gotta love the Director!

Adeline Olmer
Adeline Olmer
14 jul. 2023
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I agree, the director is a real character--that's why I love him!


14 jul. 2023
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This is truly hilarious and tres endearing. This is my first experience with positive nostalgia for 2020!!

Adeline Olmer
Adeline Olmer
14 jul. 2023
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I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I think everyone was desperate for some fun.

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