We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, March 29. 2012
Besides "social media," it's interesting to me how others keep in touch with their old friends, how they reach out and make new friends, and, in general, how they keep their interpersonal lives alive, vibrant, and stimulating.
Readers know that I like to host parties at home, both formal and informal. Even if it isn't a time to have deep, intimate conversations as one does in other settings like in restaurants or clubs, it's a way of letting people know that that you view them as a part of your life that matters. That is an important signal to send to people (assuming that they care).
I know the Bird Dogs like to host formal dinners, and especially big semi-formal multi-course game dinners for 25-30, but that sounds like work to me. Sounds like a holiday effort, but they seem to be used to doing it joyfully and without much expense, and take it in stride.
At my house, we are partial to hosting semi-stuffy formal dinners for 12 at least monthly from October to March (why else have a formal dining room?), and casual family clambakes, barbecues, pig roasts, or the like in the summertime. Sometimes in the winter it is good to host a decadent after-church brunch with champagne and bloodies, with a guy making omelettes to order, and bacon n' sausage n' pancakes. A big brunch at home is not an expensive party, and people love to come in the winter for good cheer with the fireplaces blazing. People have been known to get good new jobs at our get-togethers.
Every few years, I think it's a good idea to find an excuse to throw a big cocktail party or Christmas party and cast a wide net of hospitality. Inviting people into your home, however humble, means a lot to people. Doing those things right, of course, can be a little bit costly but makes life much more fun.
I enjoy people. If I don't do it, who will?
Friends of ours, recent empty-nesters, have come up with another idea which I like. They term it "Suppertime." Once a week, they just call a couple to join them for an ordinary supper on the kitchen table after work. A cocktail by the fire first, of course. Nothing fancy, no big deal, just a visit for an hour or two at most. Salad and spaghetti, or a grilled ribeye and mashed potatoes, or whatever, and some fruit for dessert.
I think it is a brilliant idea.
What do our readers do?
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--i always have fun, when hornswoggled into a party of some sort --but as far as wanting to go, or --heavens to murgatroyd! --throwing something myself --i'll take the fifty lashes with the cat-o-nine tails, please, if i have the choice. Or just shoot me, truth be known. --not a proud state of being --just a recent and not at all unpleasant interior turning. i think i'm maybe summoning a novel. i have the first part already written: "The". Now all i have to do is decide which direction to take it.
In a previous life, the 2nd ex and I would throw a pig roast from time to time for friends and co-workers. We did that three times, I believe. Cooking a pig without equipment made for cooking a pig is a lot of work, though, and required at least one dedicated helper. In the current life, I find it much easier and enjoyable to boil up a sack or three of crawfish.
My husband & I are both Schedulers - in different manufacturing companies. Being a Scheduler has a similar energy to being a Host/Hostess for a party - we are the interface between Sales & Operations, having to justify each to the other. Each machine has to have orders to run, we have to have a positive attitude about schedule non-attainment, we deal directly with (probably) 20-30 people every day- in both Sales and Operations, and more indirectly.
There's nothing like coming home to ... total quiet... no demands, no questions, no one asking for expedites. . .
The older I get, the less I like social interactions. .
When I was young, and met people, we always had lots to talk about. Our lives, our families, our dreams, getting to know you...it was all exciting and fun.
When I had children, it was fun to meet other parents, and compare notes and give each other ideas about how to handle various issues, right up to and including teenagers.
Now I'm an empty-nester, and I find I have very little to talk to anybody about. (I have to avoid politics and religion because my own views are very different from most of my acquantances.) I like talking sports a little bit, but those are limited conversations. Discussing my adult children does not interest me, and I don't yet have the aches and pains that the elderly like to natter on about.
So I avoid social life. My spouse, my dog, my ancient mother, and occasional interactions w/ other family members are enough. All the rest feels like a major effort w/ little reward.
"But don't you want to enjoy life?"
But I did already.
"Why don't you try harder to keep on enjoying?"
Because I'm trying as hard as I can already.
"Argh --please no more --I can't stand it!"
Oops --sorry. Ok, so I won't talk anymore.
My wife and I are both recently retired. We have plenty of time to basically do as we please. We are pleased to spend time with each other. Even simple entertaining seems like such work. Our daughter is getting married in less than a month. We are looking forward to our families gathering for the event. Beyond that, a return to normalcy is eagerly anticipated.
Fortunately for me, my wife is a bon vivant who likes lots of people around. I'd be content to read a lot, follow sports, watch my chickens ,etc. I do think we need lots of interaction with others to stay alive. (really alive, not going through the motions). So cultivate friends, especially the ones who make tamales and carne asada, out here in Arizona.
I'd say in these strange and uncertain days, friends will go a lot further than portfolios.
We host a "semi formal dinner" every week - it's called the Sabbath. A Sabbath table with two blessedly large families and some seminary students or visiting friends from the States easily get up to/over 20 people.
Due to the prohibitions of work on the Sabbath - which, by traditional Jewish interpretation of the law, includes cooking and most kitchen prep - a repertoire of make-ahead stews, pot-au-feus, prepared salads, and casseroles has emerged as central to traditional Jewish cuisine.
This makes entertaining relatively pain-free.
You've got to be crazy to serve a precisely-timed roast meat dish to that many people, unless it's an all-day asado-style BBQ (which is how we celebrate Independence Day).
We are constantly amazed by the frenzied hair-tearing that surrounds Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners - and probably has been ratcheted up by the culture of take-out dining... My wife puts down the December women's magazines and says "we do this almost every week!"
--maybe some of us retirees (gad wot a husk of a word) are struck glum by such as Dr. Bliss' question because we finally have the free time for which all our lives we'd lusted, because we knew we needed that free time in order to be who we really are, and now that all that has come together we know that who we really are is a slob
Dear Ben David
i was enjoying your comment until the last paragraph where you had to turn it into
"nya nya nya we're better than you are. we're better than you are."
i see an example of a people who've for about 5,000 years worked very hard at the meaning of family, and it shows. Us Scandinavians, by contrast, running, on the evidence of having a written language, a few millenia behind, still --should the wrong 'look' be exchanged at the thanksgiving table --cheerfully brain one another with war axes --albeit more lately the word form rather than the iron.
Gina - Certainly gentiles of one or two generations ago knew how to cook and serve a nice meal - many of them still had the tradition of a weekly Sunday lunch, and of living in extended families.
And they did it with fewer conveniences than we have.
I was commenting on the modern hyperventilating that surrounds the production of ONE such meal a year.
We have one large, somewhat formal dinner party every February, featuring local oysters prepared a dozen different ways, and attended by 15 or 20 people, including some out-of-towners. Other neighbors have their own annual feast traditions that we enjoy attending, such as a big fish-fry next door on New Year's Eve with lots of home-made music.
Otherwise, we occasionally put on a dinner party for 6 or 8, but more often (every week or two) we have a couple of neighbors over for dinner. They reciprocate, so it's a rare week in which we don't share dinner with neighbors in their or our home. Riotous drinking may or may not be involved. Among our group of friends, we all keep track of who's "baching it" (primary cook out of town) and make sure he or she comes for dinner, which sometimes is elaborate but more often is family-style or even leftovers.
This is almost the only kind of gathering we normally participate in, not being fans of most parties or of large groups in general. We happily spend many days at home with each other not seeing or talking to anyone else.