It's Not Over Until You're Dead

Ollie the Cat's Nightmare Elder Meetup Day



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.

Dead Ballons

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.

And Rain, of Rainy Day Thoughts who lives with her husband, Paul, on a farm about 50 miles south of me, brought a camera too so there is another excellent collection of photos on her Picasa page.

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.


Oh Ronni, the occasion sounds like it was so much fun in spite of that party pooper Ollie. I hope something like that can happen during the summer when I'm in Portland.

You lucky ducks! The pics are wonderful & it looks like a "good time was had by all," except perhaps, Ollie :) Did anyone happen by on SKYPE? I planned to & then ended up with a terrific cold. Oh well, next time will have to do. Great job, Ronni. Dee

It sounds wonderful and I will enjoy seeing the photos and checking out the links. The foods look scrumptious!!

One conversation on Skype worked out well, but others had connection problems. Plus, I'm pretty sure I missed hearing the Skype alert for a call or two due to all the conversation.

For future meetups, I think that there is probably too much going on with the party to successfully include Skype.


Even though I am almost 3,000 miles away I felt I was there in spirit.

Sounds like YOU had a wonderful time but poor Ollie will have to spend some time with the cat therapist.

Paul and I had a wonderful time and it was everything you said with the wonderful and interesting good matched by the same kinds of conversations. We really enjoyed ourselves and hope we all do get together again with maybe some others who couldn't make it this time. You were right about how well your home works for entertaining as it lets conversation and people flow.

I have one cat like Ollie who finds anybody entering our house to be a threat and can send him into even an allergic reaction later and the other who loves to be in the center of things but has bitten us in the past; so I am not sure which cat makes em happier. Often we just have to close doors and make them both stay away from the company.

that was wonderful and interesting food not good but good fits too :)

I had such a good time at your gathering Ronni! I also wish I could have stayed longer. I know I missed some good conversations and hope we can do something like this again. The food was wonderful.

I hope others will list their blog connections.


I really enjoyed meeting everyone who attended and would love having blog/website links and being able to connect via Facebook, if anyone else does that. Thanks for your marvelous hospitality, Ronni. You know how to throw a party!

What a great time! So many people in one room with similar outlooks, different experiences, and original thoughts! I came home with lots of new things to think about and process. the food was delightful as was the hostess. Truly it was like being with old friends, especially you Ronni!

Dang, feels like the junior high school lunch room once again...where all the cool kids sat together and the rest of us were lumps of clay...staring enviously at their private little club!

Of course, you know I say that tongue-in-cheek. Just cursing the miles that kept me from attending...

Glad to hear all had a great time!

I am soooo jealous. I was with you in spirit and intended to try reaching you on Skype, but it didn't work out. I think it's a good thing that it didn't as you had enough on your plate being a good hostess without the interruption of phone calls.

I just entertained one couple for cocktails and nibbles and was exhausted. I applaud you for holding such a large and lovely gathering. You are a virtual Pearl Mesta.

Thanks Ronni- I'd love to take credit for the thoughtful gift of Catnip for Ollie...but it wasn't me- I brought the cider.
Your party was so much fun- I know I missed out alot leaving early. Cheers!

Oh how marvelous. I so wish I could have been there with you all. Maybe I can manage it next time. Fun, fun fun.

Sorry I missed the party but it's a long way from Austin to Portland. I am planning another road trip to the northwest next spring maybe I could swing by in my camper then?
Or am I being pushy?

Ah, wish I could have been there. I would have loved to have met everyone in person.

Me too!!! The pictures looked great and that Ollie...he is too funny. Ronni you need to do a children's book about Ollie. I bet it would be a hit.

Thanks to all of you who took pictures of the get-together. I was there in spirit.

Kathe and ???:

So sorry about the gift mixup. Everyone was so generous in bringing house gifts and no names on them...

Hi Ronni, what a great gathering you hosted on Saturday! What a pleasure to meet you and all the interesting, creative, friendly people, What talents everyone has, inspired my creativity!!Poor Ollie, but he spent only a day in hiding, one of my cats, Bobby the former feral, spent most of 25 days under the bed while we were enjoying New Mexico!! our "cat lady" fed him and petted him,(she on the floor) while he remained in hiding! He is not fond of people, or his own shadow,it seems!! What fun we had as total strangers, we all seemed compatible and had lots to say! it was GREAT! my blog will be coming soon! PS, food was so good and the desserts! oh yeah!!! good coffee too, I might add:-) Thanks again for the best Saturday talk/meet festever!

oops, that should say fest, ever!!

I thought of you all on Saturday. Ollie phoned me from under the bed and complained that the SPCA was closed and I was the only alternative. He wanted to lodge a complaint. I told him to take a nap and relax! I'm sure he has forgotten about the whole sorted incident by now.

Loved the pictures. I have been laughed at for taking pictures of food at social gatherings but I am really glad Rain did that! It adds to the flavor of the event. Yum!

The look on Ollie's face is priceless. Our cats don't like any humans except us and our son's family--they hide out whenever anyone else comes. I thought about you all Saturday and am glad you had such a good time!

That sounds like a truly satisfying day and it encourages me in my own plans for meet-ups on the East coast toward the end of this month. Like old friends, you say...delightful!

What a delight to read this post. Isn't it wonderful to meet people for the first time (face-to-face) and they are already friends! It does sound as if it was a lot of fun and hopefully will become tradition.

It was a great meet-up, Ronni! Thank you again for your splendid hospitality.

Ollie just cracks me up in this photo! He looks a bit calmer than he did under the bed, however.

The cap nip was from me! One reason Ollie likes the ribbon is the little cloth-covered catnip ball that I tied to the ribbon (courtesy of the staff at our veterinary clinic). Onyx, who helped me pot the plant, says he will take it off Ollie's paws anytime. ;)

Many, many thanks...and it was terrific meeting other bloggers.

Oh, I wish I could have been there, Ronni. Montreal is so far from Portland. Maybe next time. I hope for next time.

Ollie looks like a bouncer in a NYCity nightclub, he's thinking, "Okay, which one of these intruders should I toss out first?"

"Get off my lawn."

(Clint Eastwood) Gran Torino

I love Ollies' ears. She is beautiful. Reminds me of my Charlie, she did'nt have ears that stand up like Ollies. I miss her every day of my life.

Wow!!!!! I would have loved to have been there. Glad it was such a great event!!!

Sure sounds like it was a fun time!

But ... did Ollie have to spend the whole day without food, while everyone else was eating?

If all of us who would like to have attended the meet-up could have attended, you would have had to rent a conference room somewhere.

And Ollie would have stayed home, in peace.

It looks like a great time was had by all! I am so disappointed that I was not available by skype. Love your condo, Ronni. Love the pictures too. Wish I could read the name tags to identify the folks. I vote for another one...soon!


Love Ollie! Our three furry felines would have pulled an Ollie and headed for the hills (under the bed). They'd have stayed there the entire time, too!

Regarding the hat -- a friend once told me that when you leave something behind after a visit, it means you want to return.

I love parties, and recently gave a few myself: about 30 attended my swim-class friends, animal sheler pals, and hubby's fiddle friends. We had a rousing outdoor potluck with new friendships and cross connections made, plus live jamming.

Then last night I had a dinner party, seven of us, for a nice meal I'd fashioned all day, music made and comfortable hours spent together inside since the rains have begun. Is autumn/winter really here!?

I'm just six hours due south and love every opportunity to drive up to Portland, so keep us posted on another event.

Ronni, would it be too much trouble to facilitate other, regional hookups? Maybe some of us could volunteer to coordinate. I'd consider connecting folks from say, Eugene down to Sacramento, if you have such a 'bunch' and it would be fun to read of others' events elsewhere.

Have a gathering, friends! It helps you clean your space and focus on something new and fun!

Cheers, ~Kathi (in far northern CA)

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