friendful

Tonight was Farmer Fels’ annual Seafood Boil.  Which brought to mind a post that’s been percolating for some time.

I can remember when my parents were my  age. They had a 24 year old daughter, a 22 year old daughter, and two young sons.  I suppose they had a few friends, but none who ever came over. The only people they entertained were my aunt and uncle and grandmothers.  People did not come for dinner, we did not go to peoples’ houses for dinner or parties. I don’t know why this was, because I can remember doing those things as a young child.

This is a crying shame, I think. And nights like tonight bring that thought to the forefront.  I am always grateful to have such a great and eclectic group of friends, but I am not sure they know how appreciated they are. So tonight, I tell them.

Farmer Fels and Mrs. Roos rank right up there, for comfort and ease and cocktails. The geeks for speaking The Geek’s language and bringing that light (or darkness, depending on your point of view), int0 his life.

My oldest friends are from college.  Most of what we did together is a blur, though some things stand out. Perhaps it’s best if I don’t discuss the details here.  Let’s just say that Safeway was not as profitable as it could have been in the late 80′s and we had some fine times at The Pink Door and The Vogue.  And I am forever grateful that Dave had the good sense to marry Sue, and I could meet Bobby.

Some of my best friends now date from the college years but we didn’t know each other well then.  Now we are bound by yarn and gin and Drinkie Cottage. Cheers to you, ladies. I look forward to smoking with you in the Airstream in 30 years.

Some of our oldest and dearest are Roanokers.  You might leave, but you are forever in our hearts and family.

Old friends sometimes branch out and lead us to new roads. Our eastside family  brings me warm and fuzzy thoughts of Disneyland and Turkey Day, camping and cocktails.

The Professors will come for cocktails and wade through the piles to pee, even though they are not dog people.

Yinnie can get my kids Pirate Booty any time, and even though Spike ripped out all my lettuce, he is my own.  A call from the 415 is all it takes to get me on the next plane.

What makes these the precious ones? The ability to leave the dishes in the sink and the pajama bottoms on. The need to say nothing, but understand everything. The history and safety, the looking forward and back.

Don’t think for one second that I don’t know how lucky we are.

a new leaf

School starts in these parts the Wednesday after Labor Day. That means this is my last free summer weekend, since we head to SF for Labor Day.  Given that we didn’t really have summer weather here until recently, I am not ready for summer to be over.

The start of the school year almost seems to me to be the REAL New Year, a better time for a fresh start.  And I am bound and determined to have one this year. I swear to god.  This year of 8th and 5th grade, I will:

  • Plan menus and BUY the food for them. And actually MAKE the meals.  With my crock pot and pressure cooker. One of the best things about Fall is the yummy long-cooking things you can make.
  • Clean off the dining room table. Well, one end anyway, so we can sit and eat like civilized people.  We need one end for homework/crafty/gamey activities.
  • Overhaul the kitchen pantry.  Again.  Don’t get me started.
  • Less TV, more reading for the kids. No matter how much easier it is to just let them watch/play it.

That means that this weekend I need to start some purging and organizing.  But not tonight. Tonight I am going to pet my crafty things and bake a cake for the seafood boil tomorrow at Farmer Fels. Maybe try a Shady Grove cocktail.

Sheesh, there’s no need to go crazy, people. Baby steps.

Lopez 2011

Along with some friends, we have been spending one weekend plus a few days on Lopez Island for the last 5 Augusts. (That is a strange sentence, but I think you know what I mean.)  We camp at Spencer Spit, a state park that has decent sites and access to the beach, but no showers and this year, no trash pickup due to budget cuts.  Dislike.

In our group this year there were 9 adults, 6 kids and 5 dogs. On a double site.  We were packed in there like sardines but we made it work. Nice sunny days definitely helped. As did plenty of boozy goodness. Sparkly pinot grigio – hello! We woke up, we ate, we hung out on the beach, we ate, we drank. Repeat.

View down on the Spit

The Geek took this with his phone on a foggy Friday. I like it.

For the first time this year, we took a day trip over to Orcas Island to check out Moran State Park. That island is much larger than Lopez and feels more mountain-y.  In Moran State Park you can drive up to Mt. Constitution, where there is a tower you can climb and really spectacular views. REALLY spectacular.

Next to the Tower

Tower you can climb up and see...

this...

We spied some sweet sites for next summer if we get lucky enough to snag the reservations. There is a cute little town called Eastsound where we had some righteous barbeque.$2 Tallboys!! Like!

Carnage at Fire Smokehouse & Grill

Ferried it back on the 7 pm ferry – which I must say was the one downside to the San Juans. You are completely at the mercy of the ferry system.  We were ready to head back about 2 hours earlier but couldn’t.  Though once we were on the ferry, we were treated to this.

purty

And on the right…

Mt. Baker

The scenery was amazing all around us. But not all of it came in the form of nature. I discovered a new reason to love Lopez this year – a quilt store!  Score!

Sweet mid-mods for something

Soon to be a pillow!

It was tiny so it was mostly fat quarters and a limited bolt selection but still!  At the farmers’ market there were a couple stalls selling locally spun yarn, too.

Now. Full disclosure.  It has come to my attention that I may be too old for tent camping. Damn, it is a lot of schlepping of shit. We are alas too poor for a vacation house but it may be time to convert to yurting, which does limit one’s choice of park but might make for happier camping.  We shall see.

‘n sync

By this time in my life, I thought I’d have things pretty well figured out. Everything would run seamlessly. Nice house, decent job, well-dressed and behaved kids, money in the bank, the whole nine yards proper. Like on TV. Like grown-ups do.

Since the real grown-ups haven’t appeared to call my bluff, I guess this is it for me. I need to do the figuring out for myself.

In my head there are little boxes or shelves. One for crafting. One for food. One for house projects. For everyday maintenance. For bar stuff. Someday stuff. Laundry. The problem seems to be in the juggling – as soon as I devote time to one box, the rest of them fall by the wayside.  Then I’ll nudge them all back into line for about 24 hours, ever so slightly. I think, ah, sooo close. I can dooo this…. and whomp, some scheduling thing or exciting new project or empty refrigerator throws it all out of whack.  I can hear the gears grinding.

My question is this. How do other people do it?  It is one of the great mysteries of the universe, I am telling you. Is there some secret test you have to pass before the key to it all is revealed?

I want to write up a week’s worth of menus, shop for them, cook them, eat them on a clean dining room table, have clean underwear, sew things, keep my kids on track, walk the dog, stay current on bookwork, knit something, plan a new kitchen when the garage is done.  It really does not seem unreasonable. I want those damn boxes to be in balance.

I am unwilling to give up simple joys like Project Runway to achieve this goal.  Open to any and all other tips, however.