I had a big party called Accordionstock '08 on Saturday, and if you missed it, you're probably the reason why we had 5 1/2 quarts of vegetarian chili left over.
It was small in numbers but extremely satisfying. A small coterie of faithful knitters were the first to arrive (as always), followed by the writers, a bellydancer with small daughter (K82*), and two knitters with their families. The five under 5's set about making a glorious mess, which is exactly what the party was for, and at any one time you could find some drawing, some playing with toys, some running in the yard, and some eating. Simon was caught eating crayons, so I offered him baker's chocolate instead. You can tell that he's a second kid: Blake's first birthday cake was made with organic cane sugar to reduce the refined sugar intake and four years later I'm giving other people's kids squares of ingredients. It'll be my fault if he starts hanging out around baking supply stores.
The presence of little eaters meant that we put hot dogs on the menu (the only thing we served that wasn't handmade). Once Blake and K82 had their dogs, they celebrated by spinning in circles, mouths full. The childfree adults, burgers in hand, soon came to a decision. "I want a hotdog." "What?"
They ate the remaining three in short order, and I'm pretty sure if we'd grilled the pack, they'd have eaten them all. I still can't get over it - all this time I've been searching for the perfect party food, and it was right under my nose, swathed in the mists of childhood and a white bread bun.
Yesterday we were able to visit with Mason's son Sage for approximately 5 minutes before he was ushered home to his nap. It was an interesting moment: last time I was asked to come out with Sage, Mason and his family, there was a lot of anxiety about running into Sage's mom. It was so upsetting that we decided on transparency for the next visit; I'm not sneaking around and I refuse to behave as if I'm doing something wrong (or have others behave as if I don't really belong). Sage's mom was told about my invitation, which was a good thing. Not so good was that my arrival at the coffeeshop coincided exactly with hers, so there was some awkward conversation on the sidewalk. Still, it was better than the alternative. A craven part of me thought about hiding in a store before they noticed Blake & I, but we didn't. I didn't touch Sage in front of her, though. That's just pushing it.
One of the most interesting things about the past summer is that I've been forced into much more compassion than I would have otherwise. I'm not just "the girl who was left," I'm also "the replacement" and I'm dating "the boy who left." It's so much harder to judge the Boy and Sage's mom when I'm an analogue of one and dating the counterpart of another.
* Blake was pretty jazzed that K8rs was coming over, and he insisted on sitting outside the door to wait for the family to arrive. Souzan showed up soon with her K8, and took it upon herself to introduce them.
"You must be Blake. What are you waiting for?"
"K8," he replied simply.
"I'm K8!" Souzan's daughter replied eagerly, delighted to be anticipated in a strange place.
"No," said Blake with finality. I haven't heard of such coldness since the infamous "Space Island" conversation.
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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*