Maybe next year

One or two summers after M and I bought the house and property here at Breezy Acres, we decided to host an annual Party By The Pond.  We would have it around the time of the summer solstice, thinking of making it a tradition with a date that was easy to remember.

It was a fairly big event in which we invited everyone we know, near and far, friends, family, and acquaintances.  Bring the kids, bring the family, bring guests if you want (and people frequently did, especially those who had family or friends visiting with them at the time of the party).  We would get a pretty good turnout of about 50-75 people.

Getting ready for the party was a great deal of work.  We’d start a few weeks before the party by working around the pond, cleaning up the boats, finding the equipment for the games (volleyball, badminton, bocce ball), checking out the kites and string, and a long list of other things indoors and out.

We also had to come up with main dishes for the party since we provided the entrées and beverages, asking people to bring side dishes and/or desserts.  We never assigned the side dishes or desserts.  Somehow it all worked out with a good balance of both.

The main dishes could be tricky.  There were people who were meat eaters but they didn’t eat pork.  Others who were meat eaters who didn’t eat beef.  Vegetarians.  Vegans.  And just plain picky eaters.  Since it was an outdoor party, we wanted outdoor dishes.  Something grilled or barbecued.

Even with all the work and planning and pre-party stress, it was fun.  Party day was, of course, the most fun of all because after a while I could sit back, relax, and watch people enjoying themselves as they ate, rowed or pedaled around the pond, played a few games of volleyball, and talked and laughed with each other.

We haven’t had the Party By The Pond for the past two years or so.  Last summer was filled with our youngest son’s wedding and trips and all sorts of activities.  This year we have been in the midst of Project Patio and the backyard is a construction zone, not conducive to safe and fun partying.

Every year since my first summer blogging, I get a number of people showing up at the blog who use the search term “Party By The Pond.”  They start to show up in April or May and the searches continue through August.  I never know if they are searching for our Party By The Pond or if someone else out there is throwing their own Party By The Pond.

Just in case the Party By The Pond folks are searching for the one at Breezy Acres here in the Bogs, I thought I should let you know that we didn’t have it this year.  No need to worry that you weren’t invited or your invitation got lost.

I’ve been thinking that next year might (maybe, perhaps) be a good time to bring back the Party By The Pond tradition.  I can’t make any promises because there is no way of knowing for sure where we’ll be or what we’ll be doing when the solstice rolls around in 2011.  But go ahead and pencil us in around that time, the Saturday before or after the summer solstice, if you’d like to be here for it.  You’ll need to bring your bathing suit if you want to swim or your fishing rod if you want to fish.  We could always use lawn chairs, too.

Plan on bringing a side dish or dessert.  Your choice.  I’ll let you know what the entrées will be when we’ve made all of those decisions, just in case you want to make something that goes with or compliments the main dishes.  It’s not necessary, of course, but some people like to do that sort of thing.   I’ve always enjoyed the hodgepodge of dishes and desserts that grace our tables at this party so feel free to make whatever you want.

Party By The Pond

(Yesterday’s sunset.)

Yesterday we had our big Party By The Pond. We normally have it around the time of the summer solstice, but had to have it early this year for a variety of reasons, too numerous and complicated to list.

We were worried about the weather as there was a cold front getting ready to move through about the same time our party started (3:00pm). The day started out hot, but very windy (so that Breezy Acres more than lived up to its name). We set up the tent in case of rain. The wind gusts did their best to try to knock over or carry away the tent. That plan was foiled by careful and good staking. The tent held in spite of everything the wind threw at it.

Around 4:00pm, just after the majority of people arrived, a small rain cloud quickly moved in from the west. It rained for a couple of minutes, just enough to cool things off, and then moved just as quickly on where it may or may not have rained on someone else’s party.

A good time was had by all. There were lots of boat rides in the pond, a couple of good games of volley ball, and a lot of eating and drinking going on. (You wouldn’t believe the number of soft drinks consumed!)

(For those that have asked, this was not my birthday bash. My birthday is in December. I’m not sure I’ll have a birthday bash, although I’m seriously considering it since I’ll be half a century old this year.)

One of the best parts of the party for me was sitting in the tent with M after everyone had gone home and the initial clean-up was finished. We sat and looked at the stars, listened to the frogs and the owls, talked and relaxed, knowing it had been a very good day.

Now that the big bash is past, it’s time for me to get back on track with exercise. I’ll sit down and get my Move 2008 numbers updated and post them tomorrow. The past two weeks have not been good, numbers-wise. Or exercise-wise. Or healthy eating-wise if I’m going to be honest about it all. But all excuses are now behind me and it’s time to get this almost 50-year-old body back into the groove.

I received the email about the theme for NaBloPoMo for June.  I like it, and was thinking I’d participate just to breathe some life back into the old blog.  But we’re heading out of town on Wednesday and I don’t think I’ll have access to the internet for at least a few of the days we’ll be gone.  That pretty much puts me out of the running for June.  And away from home (which happens to be the theme).  Perhaps I’ll use the theme anyway, and write when I can.  Photos from the pond throughout the month are a good way of expressing part of what home means to me.

Right now, though, home means finishing the party clean-up.  It’s not too bad.  Mostly a matter of putting things away at this point.  We might have to invite an entire town over for dinner in order to get rid of all the food that was left behind.  We have Carolina-style pulled pork with two different barbecue sauces, beef sloppy joes, vegetarian sloppy joes, a variety of salads with a variety of vegetables, pastas, dressings, and even a few with tofu.  There are baked beans, brownies, cakes, and homemade chocolate candies.  I believe there’s a whole pie and a couple of gallons of ice cream.  We also have three watermelons, a big bag of cherries, and a bunch of raw veggies for dipping.  Chips, salsa, 7-layer dips, and the mysterious flour tortillas.  They’re mysterious because we can’t figure out who brought them and what they brought them to be used with or for as there doesn’t seem to be anything to go with them.

So, come on over.  Bring your friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, and anyone you happen to meet along the way.  We’ll have a feast.

Friday thoughts

The weather has been chilly here in the Bogs. It’s finally going to warm up this weekend with highs in the 60’s today and 70’s throughout the rest of the weekend.

It’ll be nice to experience some warmer weather. Warmer, not hot. I’m not a fan of extremes in temperatures, especially when it comes to heat. I’m a woman of a certain age (as they say these days, and I’m not entirely sure what that’s supposed to mean other than OLD), and I can generate my own heat.

Our big Party By The Pond takes place next weekend. I’m afraid we weren’t able to give much notice this year. It was a last minute decision to have it and our original date (June 21st) wasn’t working out well so we decided it would be better to have it earlier rather than later. If we had waited to have it on a date after June 21st we would have been inviting the deer flies and mosquitoes to join us. If you’re not familiar with deer flies, say a prayer of thanks. They’re nasty creatures that hurt like the devil when they bite and leave huge welts (on me, at any rate). I’d rather deal with mosquitoes.

I was watching the Today Show this morning and they were prattling on about the millions of Americans who will be traveling this weekend and that got me to thinking…

We should start a “Tour Local” or “Vacation Local” movement.

Throughout our 30+ years of marriage, M and I have lived in a variety of different places. One of the things I’ve noticed is that local people often don’t visit their local attractions. They travel elsewhere to vacation or have fun. For instance, when we lived in Chicago I had a friend who lived her whole life in the Chicago area yet had never been up in the Sears Tower building.

A lot of us these days could be part of the James McMurtry song, I’m Not From Here. It would do us good to get to know the area in which we live, whether we’re local or new or have been there a few years. Think of the money we’d save by not traveling hundreds of miles to go explore another area.  We might even have a chance to get to know our neighbors!  (Ok, that might be taking it too far for some folks.)

Not that I have objections to travel. I think travel is a great thing. It allows us to learn about different people, different places, and broadens our minds and horizons. I’m not suggesting we never ever travel somewhere more than 50 miles away from home. What I’m thinking is that these holiday weekends always bring gas hikes. Rather than continue to contribute to the oil companies’ profits (which are pouring in like crazy these days), rather than sit in traffic because everyone else is traveling, why not spend one of these holiday weekends at home and find fun things to do within a 50-mile radius of where you live?

Since the “buy local” and “eat local” movements are gathering such momentum, I thought I’d throw out the idea of vacationing local.  (It wouldn’t surprise me if someone else has already thought of it and I missed it.)

There are millions of Americans who are forced to do that, anyhow.

While out and about on a grocery shopping trip this morning we saw someone in a very large rental RV. Those things are expensive to rent (about $200 a day). Imagine paying that much for an RV and then having to fill the gas tank on top of that. That’s got to be one costly vacation.

*stepping down from my soap box*

Time for me to get some laundry out to the clothesline. It’s a good day for drying things in the fresh air and sunshine. I’ll leave you with a few photos from the San Diego trip. (I’m determined to get the good ones posted even if it takes me years.)

(From a morning walk on the beach. Pacific Beach, CA. April 2008.)

(Sunday surfing. Pacific Beach, CA. April 2008.)

(Sunday sunset. Mission Beach, CA. April 2008.)

Next up in the San Diego photo show: A Monday with the TorreyPinesGoddess.

P.S.  A big HELLO to my niece Shelby.  I really will email you soon.  I promise.  😀