Sunday, April 23, 2006

more april observations

more april observations

One reason why I had always thought that I was well suited for the “house in southern France” idea (or in Italy – take your pick) is because I think I’d do well in the area of hospitality. Not so much the kind where everyone is suddenly a close friend and writes you that they’re on the way for a lengthy visit (as recounted by the infamous Peter Mayle), but the kind where on a warm evening (and because it is the south, there would be many such warm evenings) friends and neighbors would be welcome to congregate around my table, conveniently positioned outdoors under maybe a grape trellis or by a pear orchard. Not unlike this orchard, with tall grasses and budding branches, only this one is just outside Madison:

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April orchard

In my dreamy images, I would not necessarily have to cook – people would bring stuff – but it would be at my table and I would freely pour wine and I would happlily dust off surfaces and light candles and wash linens. Indeed, I’d look forward to setting the table. Not unlike this one, only this one is at the loft, on a lovely April Saturday evening:

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April evening at the loft

When a bunch of bloggers and assorted others put together a birthday dinner for me at the loft last night, I must admit, heaven could not have invented a better set up. I cooked nothing and barely touched a dish cloth. They did it all. I’ll step back from text and let a few photos describe the night. I did fail to catch the Kodak moment when someone at the table said “oh, look, Tonya is on fire! Do something!” In the heat of the moment my hand left the camera. Tonya herself received nary a singe, though she did admit to having felt a touch warm when leaving the stove. I suppose we should all pay attention to what our bodies tell us.

One last comment. I had wanted to do the noble thing and tell people not to bring gifts, especially since they were already providing food and drinks. I apologize for my utter piggishness in not stating that. But when each and every gift then turns out to be a gem of thoughtfulness, this does not increase one’s motivation to do the gallant thing in the future.

I can only say thank you, here, on Ocean. Especially to the author of the Tonya Show, who spearheaded the entire evening and cooked up a storm for it. What a fantastic pack of friends these guys are! No, really, you have no idea.

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the work of others

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the labor of Columnist Manifesto's "B"

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start with Bozzo-Lee savory cheesecake and Tonya Show margaritas

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Tonya Show first course

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Tonya Show Moroccan chicken

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Althouse cake

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happy Ocean author

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"tiny thoughts" and soon-to-be tiny one, finger-licking good

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Althouse at dusk

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Marginal Utility and company

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The Tonya Show: mastermind behind the event

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Ocean author: the last puff. It's chocolate. Really.