For a cat who, aside from the human who feeds him, is a misanthrope, Saturday was his worst nightmare.
Beginning at 10AM people continued to arrive for a couple of hours until there were 18 of them between Ollie, under the bed, and his food bowl in the kitchen. And so it remained - to his utter disgust - until way past dark, a giant interruption in his routine.
Too bad for him because for the rest of us, it was a most entertaining and companionable eight-plus hours.
I had thought we could walk over to the park together along the Willamette River in the afternoon, but the day dawned so rainy and wet that it nearly killed the helium balloons I used to mark the path from the parking area to my home.
We have remarked here in the past how comfortable it is to meet a blogger we have previously known only online. Mostly, it feels like seeing an old friend who hasn't been around for awhile, but I wasn't certain that would hold for a large group. I needn't have worried – it was like a bunch of old friends.
Aside from my brother Paul and his wife, Isa, the only guest I had met in person before was Raines Cohen when we both attended the Gnomedex conference in Seattle in 2007. Raines – more about him here - is an expert in co-housing and intentional communities, and wears a wonderful Mad Hatter hat everywhere he goes.
I felt like I knew Marion - who drove with her husband Duke all the way from Reno, Nevada - because we had spoken at length on the telephone about a year ago when she interviewed me for her Marion's Blog.
There are hardly any photos of my own from the meetup because I was having too much fun to take many and the few I have are mostly fuzzy, out of focus and awful. But Marion posted a terrific bunch at her Flicker site.
I had considered doing the cooking for us and ditched that idea as soon as it came to mind. There was a time when I could prepare all the food for 20-30 people or more while holding down a full-time job but these days, my body says no.
Lucky for me, there is a nice little catering place in town, Gourmet Productions, that supplied the chicken with apricot sauce, roast pork loin in tarragon sauce, raviolini along with a rice, arugula and corn salad. We did a lot of eating.
Here is the table as we were beginning to dig into the beautiful patisserie from St. Honore Boulangerie in Lake Oswego.
In the past, when I was younger, there always seemed to be a couple of wallflowers at parties who needed to be helped along to join the conversation, but not with our meetup group. For me, it was a lively, joyous, fascinating day. I can't begin to cover all the connections, interests and ideas shared among us.
I'm going to list first names of guests I haven't mentioned elsewhere in this post, but I'm concerned I'll leave off blog links. So please fill them in for us in the comments.
Celia of Celia's Blue Cottage
Jami and Dorothy
One of the cool things I had forgotten about giving a party (which I hadn't done in six or seven years) is that people bring gifts so there was wine, cider, candy, tea, candles, a book from Raines, Audacious Aging, with a chapter written by him – a book that Gaea Yudron lists prominently on her blog, Sage's Play.
Gaea also treated us to a reading from the musical play, A New Wrinkle, that she is writing.
Kathe, who lives near me here in Lake Oswego, brought Ollie the cat a pot of live catnip. True to all toddlers and pets, he prefers the ribbon that was attached with cat toy at the end.
Except for Ollie, who is much happier now that everyone has gone home, the meetup was a spectacularly good time and I think it would be good to do this again in the not too distant future.
NOTE TO SOMEONE: One of you here on Saturday left this hat behind – and a fine one it is. Let me know who you are and I'll arrange to get it to you.
No new story at The Elder Storytelling Place today. I was too (happily) worn out yesterday to get stories prepped for publishing. More soon.