Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The party was fab...
The party was fabulous, darlings! I do wish ya'll could've been there, mostly because, had you been there, I wouldn't have so much leftover food! I have leftover food because most of my friends brought food, wonderful food, and the ones who didn't brought wine or flowers.
Now, here's the odd thing... Most of my friends didn't know each other. Hmmmm... How did that happen? I have a lot of groups of friends - family, Ladies Sunday Morning Tai Chi League, Austin Book Workers, Nia, neighbors, musicians from various bands I've been in, and those miscellaneous people that you can't even remember how you met - and I've never thrown a party to which all the groups were invited. I DO have a pretty small house (800 sf), but, fortunately, I have a big back yard, and in Texas you can be outside most of the year. (Ok, in the winter, you may only want to be out during the day, and in the summer, you may only want to be out in the evening.) So, if you include my backyard, I have, like, a 6000 sf house, and right now it's carpeted! (Mid-summer is a different story, as those of us who don't water our lawns for religious reasons kinda lose the grass part.)
My friends Aline and Ray arrived first; they're the ones who have the marvelous Thanksgiving dinner I go to. I met them about fifteen years ago through my friends Anne and Gus. Anne and I knew each other from the gym, and, being women of a certain age, we hung out there together, chiding the muscleheads who forgot to re-rack their weights. It always just amazes me that a man is so proud that he can do dumbell presses with 110 pound weights - he has to have three or four guys around him spotting him and cheering him on - and then he'll just drop his weights and leave them there like his mom or the maid is gonna come pick up a couple 110 lb dumbells and re-rack 'em for him. Come on, big guy, re-rack those weights and the rest of us will cheer for you too! (Whew! Glad I got THAT out of my system!)
Anyway, I mentioned to Anne one hot August day (the 'hot' was thrown in for those of you who don't live in Texas, and who may not know that it's always hot here in August) that I had to go to a Cajun dinner party that night and was dreading having to bake the bread pudding that I was supposed to bring... Dreading it because I did not have air-conditioning. Older houses in Austin don't have central air and heat. They have funky ass space heaters with radians and, maybe, window units. They also have double hung windows that open at the top, and trees around them, so you cool your house by opening the tops of the windows during the day to let the hot air out. As long as you don't move, and have an iced drink and a fan, it's not too bad, but you don't want to turn your oven on to 350 for an hour, even to cook bread pudding.
But my friend Anne had air-conditioning, two ovens, and a pool at her house, and invited me to bring the ingredients and my bathing suit over there and cook. So, that's exactly what I did. Her husband Gus, and a friend of his (whose name I cannot recall, but think was Ed) were working on the deck, but not to the point that we couldn't swim. So I made the bread pudding and the whiskey sauce (which is the whole point of bread pudding) and swam. When the pudding came out of the oven it seemed rather rude not to cut them off a little bit and share it with them. I was sure the folks at the dinner party wouldn't mind an end missing. So that's what I did. Gus and his friend's eyes glazed over. "It's better than sex," he said... "She has to come to Thanksgiving," which in those days, was held at Anne and Gus's house. So a couple months later I did, and met Aline and Ray and their kids and a whole host of other people all of whom cook and like wine. So that's how and why I met Ray and Aline. Later, Aline and I found out that our birthdays are only 4 days apart, and Anne and Gus left to work in odd places (they're in Africa right now), but I still make bread pudding and whiskey sauce for Thanksgiving, although I make less pudding and more sauce, as whiskey sauce goes with everything: sweet potatoes (fabulous!), turkey, chocolate cake, pecan pie... Well, everything except the green beans n' bacon.
And then my ex-ish came, and my friends Mike and Debbie, whom I've known the longest in Austin. Mike and Debbie and I lived in a housing co-op up near UT together in '79-'80, named 'V.' Mike forced me to start my first band, which was the Half-Assed Dance Band, and was in the second, Wendy and the Magnets, and in the last band I was officially in, Peacemongers. He plays bass and tuba, and in Peacemongers, that was a fearsome thing. We went through a LOT of bass players. It was an improv rock band, a jam band, and it got kinda repetitive for the bass player. But Mike also plays tuba, and that was what he had at the party. And then we found out that Ray (remember Ray?) had lived in the same house (1919 Robbins Place) before us, only it was called something else, and everyone said "Far out," which is the hippie way of saying "Amen," I think.
And Steve-O and Judith showed up... But ya'll have already met them in the post about the guy who moved the shed. Judith brought wonderful couscous and flowers from her garden... And Ricë and Earl showed up, fresh from the wonderful news that he was going to have enough money to retire and have insurance, so we had reason to celebrate! Shari and Al came, too. I know Shari from LSMTCL, and, since they live way north, when Al usually brings her to it and then goes to the Shambala Center. He's frequently included in LSMTCL functions, so he's like, and adjunct member. Clark showed up bringing chairs and demanding tequila, which he said I'd promised him, and, which I might've, but don't remember. Fortunately, having a liquor cabinet, I was able to provide him with this substance, even though it wasn't the best tequila in the world. And Bruce and Leela, my neighbors came, bringing Leela's fabulous Hatch chili hummus, and Amy from Book Workers and Sarah from LSMTCL. Steve and Jessica came all the way from Georgetown. Steve was Peacemonger's drummer - and a drummer in another band I was in before that: Civil Serpents - and Jessica is a fabulous cook, especially of Middle Eastern and Indian food. She brought a delicious tart made with orange water, among other things. And maybe some other people came, but I sort of lost track after that and was worried about getting the food out...
Later on we had music in the garden. It turns out Al is a drummer and he and Steve happily drummed on 5 gallon plastic water bottles, which make wonderful drums. Mike played tuba, jc played my little Martin Backpacker guitar and I played my beautiful Gurian. We did Millennium, Fallen from a Dream, Li De Di, Heart of Darkness, Ferris Wheel, If Wishes Were Fishes, House of the Rising Sun - one of the first songs I ever learned - and It Burns.
And then everyone went home and left me with a ton of food!