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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Halloween Party

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Halloween Party

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Yesterday was our fourth annual House of Felagund Halloween party! We had to have it a week early because next weekend is our barony's TnT event.

I think it went well, if I do say so myself. It was certainly the least stressful dinner and party that we've done yet. I told Bobby that this is probably because we cook large meals from scratch five days a week; we're getting good at it! We had 16 guests, which--given our smallish house and facilities--was quite a turnout.

But I have to gripe a moment. Bobby and I invited four groups of friends close in age to ourselves. Some of these people have been good friends of ours for many years now. Of four groups, one bothered to respond to the invite. The rest? *crickets*

Okay, twenty- and thirty-something flisters--is it just us? Are we just cursed with friends who lack in any sense of organization or courtesy? Or is it a generational thing and most people our age don't bother to respond to invitations or ever want to do anything that requires them to travel ten minutes beyond their home? And, if they do, they either 1) might not show up at all (and may or may not call to let you know this) or 2) will show up so late that they might as well have not shown up at all. This pretty much sums up our same-aged friend groups. I'm very, very, very tired of it. They all wax sentimental whenever we see each other about how we need to get together more. That sentiment never actually provokes anyone but Bobby and me to make an attempt to try to get together. And when we do, we are either ignored or blown off, or they stagger in so late that I wonder why they bother at all. We once met a couple of friends for dinner about an hour from our home and about fifteen minutes from theirs. We arrived on time. They were almost an hour late. Is it just me? Am I old-fashioned to think that this is rude and incompetent behavior?

(Although perhaps I put too much blame on my age group. My extended family, too, we have invited annually to our party. Every time we'd get together, again, everyone would sigh and wring their hands about how the whole family needs to get together more. So Bobby and I invited them every year. We had two couples show up the first year. The next two years, no one from our extended family came. We've stopped inviting them. I can get the hint that "we need to get together more" doesn't include getting together at our house. I once said something about this to my parents, and they said, "But you live so far away!" [With the exception of two families, we live less than an hour away from everyone we were inviting.] Hmm. So that distance magically diminishes when they invite us to stuff, and we manage to show up?)

I can get the hint from certain friends too. Bobby and I have agreed that if they want to get together, they can set something up. We're tired of doing it only to be ignored or blown off or told the day before, "We're going to be three hours late!" or stood up because something better comes up or because it's raining and they don't want to come out in the rain. (All of which has happened among the particular groups of whom I am ranting.)

But among those who did show up, we had a great time. There was much food involved, of course. The Family Felagund loves to feed people. (We used to all work on the restaurant business, for Pete's sake!) For starters, we had pumpkin dip and homemade herbed chevre cheese, as well as apples and caramel, and a fruit salad contributed by Tristan and Don. We had the traditional potato and leek soup with fresh-baked egg bread. The main course was pulled pork, roast beef and gravy (kindly brought by Dad), and a vegetable medley that we call New World stew, as well as apple-carrot muffins with maple butter. Dessert was green apple sorbet; my dad brought cupcakes, and my mother-in-law brought a pumpkin pie. Our Wulfshaven friends also brought plenty of German beer to go around. I think the New World stew probably won the favorite food award. Lots of people took some to be polite, I suspect, because a big ol' pot of veggies isn't itself appealing to most people. Then they went back for seconds. And thirds. At least one fourths, from what I've heard. But New World stew is good. Bobby and I have been eating it about every two weeks lately for supper.

The families arrived first and so left first. We then built up a bonfire in the backyard and sat around with our SCAdian friends. They ended up staying till past midnight. The house was a wreck! (It's clean again now.) When you're up so late with your guests that you have to leave the mess till the next morning--that's a party!

We also had enough soup and stew left over to freeze for later in the winter, so our freezer is officially busting at the seams. Our goal for this year was to continue eating local even through the winter, and I think between our canned and frozen foods that we might make it.

I was feeling energized before from cleaning up from last night, then making a big breakfast with Bobby. But now ... dang. I'm pooped again! This has been an exhausting week! Thank goodness TnT is in Carroll County next Saturday and not north Harford like it usually is. With double classroom observations this week, someone still may find me curled up in a corner of the Ag Center, sleeping off the last two weeks.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Two requests (I am awful!), please: 1) if you have one can you email the recipe for the potatoe and leek soup; I had one I loved, but forgot to back it up from my dead computer (I mainly backed up only fic and research); 2) I want also a recipe for the New World stew--Laura and I are trying to eat more vegetarian meals when Gabriel is not around.

    On rude people who don't show up: it does seem to be a generational thing to me. My age group at least begs off with excuses if they don't intend to show (and they tend to be more authentic sounding than rain!). Laura is getting fed up, because she throws big parties two or three times a year. She also has huge required guest lists (Gabriel has a huge family, they would take offense to not being invited, and they all show up for every little social event). Anyway, Laura and Gabriel invite people and 100% of his family invitees show and 30% of their young friends. It means a different ambience to the party. Believe it or not, more raucus, noisy and lasting longer. His family likes to party and has no concept of time.
    • OME, you are so not awful! I'll send the recipes over shortly. :) Potato leek is already typed up because we put together a cookbook for friends (two of those who blew us off!) for a wedding gift last year. I suspect I might be needing New World stew typed up too, based on its popularity. ;)

      Okay, so it's not just us. I understand Laura's frustration. I wonder if these people can really be so scatterbrained that they forget to reply to phone messages and emails asking if they want to come over for dinner and a party? Or do they think that silence is the same as no? (Considering that we had several late RSVPs this year, silence is always very scary to me. Since almost none of our food comes from the supermarket, we have to prepare at least a week in advance to be sure that we can get everything that we need.) I feel like saying to my friends, "You at least have the chance to eat a supper that you'd pay at least 30 bucks for at a restaurant! At least come over to sponge!!" ;) We only see them a couple of times a year, since we live so "far away" now in Carroll County, so I don't think it's a lot to ask.
      • We'd like the recipe for New World stew too, please, as well as the pumpkin soup you made last year (?). Thanks in advance!
        • Will do! :D You're going to get to try the pumpkin soup when you're over, btw, if you want. We're planning to make enough extra to freeze for dinner one night when you guys are staying with us. :)

          Bobby's going to type up a bunch of recipes now for our recipe binder, including New World stew, so I should have them over in a bit.
  • I always seem to get sidetracked by other things (namely weird interruptions), so I have to really plan out my time so that I am not late for events of any sort.
    • I grew up in a family that was perpetually late for everything. My sister and I would have to be at school for a band concert by 7:30, and at 7:25, my parents would be sitting in the garage, lighting up another cigarette, and we'd be the kids slinking in 15 minutes late while the rest of the band was warming up, getting the stinkeye from our teachers! So I've had to train myself to be prompt as well and can be derailed too easily by distractions.
      • I taught myself to list appointments as 10-15 minutes earlier than the actual time and plan for an extra 15 minutes of drive time -- all of which helps keep me mostly on time.
  • (no subject) -
    • I agree that it must be our generation, and I also think it starts because no one is really taught manners anymore. I am not a very old-fashioned person but ... okay, I am old-fashioned in this. :) My sister and I were raised to be courteous. I remember sitting in restaurants when we were small, and strangers would come up and say how well-behaved we were. Or servers would compliment my parents because we actually said "please" and "thank you" rather than "gimme chicken fingers." That it was noticed so regularly tells me that it wasn't common. (Even today, Bobby and I are often told by servers that they appreciate serving us because we're nice and polite. One time, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings late for a snack, and our server told us that we were her first polite table all night. Other servers have told us that they argue with each other to serve us. [That's also because we tip really well. We used to be in the business and know how it goes. ;)] But I think it's sad that basic politeness like looking up when someone speaks to you or saying "thank you" have become rare and worth mentioning.)

      Cell phones and our generation ... this is another thing I can't stand. I'm not a cell phone person, and watching me text is like watching a monkey use a typewriter! :) It drives me nuts spending time with someone who is on the phone or texting more than they're paying attention to the people they're with. It would drive me crazy, being that available to everyone all of the time. I'm sure the wedding officiant probably had a fast comeback to the nitwit that answered the phone because he's unfortunately had lots of opportunities for practice! :)
      • (no subject) -
        • I will email you the potato leek recipe! :)

          My current mentor was telling me last week that she had a deaf student in her class last year who had to have an ASL interpreter. The one interpreter sat at the front of the room and texted through the whole class. That person would have been out of my class. That is a terrible example to set for the students.

          When I worked in the restaurant, I used to loathe the people that placed orders and couldn't even set the phone down for the 30 seconds that would take. My mom waited tables for many years, and when she had a person at a table on the phone, she'd walk over and say, "When you're finished your conversation, I'll be back to take your order," and walk away before they could call her back. I see a lot of signs these days at restaurants telling people to get off the phone to order. It's minimal courtesy, not only to the other people in line--because you're right that it clogs up the whole line (and people also don't want to hear an over-loud rendition of little Dylan's soccer practice or how Grandpa's colonoscopy went while creeping up to the counter at Starbucks)--but to the server or cashier, who contrary to popular belief, is a human being and deserves a baseline level of courtesy as a result.

          I've always wanted to go up to one of those people with the obnoxious blinking earpieces inserted in the side of their head and say, "OMG! I'm not sure you know but ... don't panic now ... but the aliens have implanted something into your brain. Don't panic, I think we can still get it out!" If people had any idea how silly they look, strutting around with a phone literally stuck in their ear, they might rethink the wisdom of that (and their own inflated sense of self-importance).
  • No SHows

    It's DEFINITELY NOT generational. I think it's mostly just plain laziness. There is no attempt, it seems, at either home or school to teach youngsters basic manners. Thus, they frequently never learn that a "No thanks, I'm not coming" is actually much preferred to no response at all.
    I have major issues getting Himself to go anywhere and it makes planning touchy sometimes. I don't like telling folks - I'd like to be there but I'm not sure we'll make it - that sounds SO lame and , frankly it is kind of lame. But at least it's an acknowledgment of the invite. it isn't just invites, either. I ask for RSVP's for classes - so the teachers know how many handouts might be needed. It's like pulling teeth!
    Suggestion - next year only invite the ones who responded to this years invite! And you can chastise me for not coming after all my Saturday plans went to worms and I went and hid because I'd reached the point of not wanting to do anything then.

    By the way - if you want to snooze at the Barony event I'll put a pillow under the A & S table and you can sneak under the table cloth and nap.

    • Re: No SHows

      Suggestion - next year only invite the ones who responded to this years invite!

      Great minds! :) That's what we're doing. We're also not contacting the one group just to see how long it takes them to realize that we haven't spoken in weeks. A little experiment, you could say. :)

      And you can chastise me for not coming after all my Saturday plans went to worms

      I will do no such thing! :) You were up-front from the start that you had other plans that day and probably wouldn't make it. And everyone has bad days and has to cancel plans on occasion, even if you had given a definitive yes and then the day went sour. It's just that with some of our friends, it's constant. I don't know if they're really that inconsiderate or just irresponsible or a bit of both.

      By the way - if you want to snooze at the Barony event I'll put a pillow under the A & S table and you can sneak under the table cloth and nap.

      Lol! I might just have to take you up on that! :D
      • Re: No Shows

        Sad to say, but I think your plan is what it might take. For whatever reason people are no longer taught the little niceties, the basic courtesy and with all the new and easy to use (and fast) technology - they can't answer a simple e-mail invitation???? They'd be falling a few pegs on my Friend-o-meter!

        Perhaps they don't understand what calendars are for? And those little pop up message reminders? Hey - if I can figure out what to do with them, ANYONE should be able to do the same. But then that assumes they realize they need to exercise some basic COURTESY..... oh, what an onerous chore....
  • I doubt its generational, more in how people are raised. I always wondered that when people long for more gatherings like that, then can't be bothered to show interest in the next one. Hubby says that people say such a thing because it's the socially expected answer, once out of sight folks turn to their own things again, leaving those who really like to go to those things with their hopes up.

    As for the distances things... yeah it's incompetent behaviour. For my kid I have to plan and structure things in a timely fashion (I now need to know how a week looks like so that I get an even balance for him), make sure he knows what we're about to do and therefore always on time (which is funny since we do live the furthest away of everyone). It's frustrating as hell (especially like yesterday when stuff are changed halfway and I have a confused kid), that's for sure.
    • I agree that waxing sentimental is probably partially because you're with people and enjoying their company ... and then when you're apart, you realize, "Oh. It's still an hour's drive to go see them! Are they really that much fun to be around??" :D

      As I told Bobby, that attitude is making it much easier for us to stay in Carroll County. It might come as a surprise to many of our family and friends that we don't like driving an hour to go to a gathering anymore than they do. We often do because it's the right thing to do, to go see your friends or family a couple of times per year, even if it's a pain in the arse. Their unwillingness to extend the same courtesy is dampening my desire to make that sacrifice, however.

      Eegads, I can't imagine the frustration of depending on people for plans with K's need for structure. I sometimes wonder how 90% of people even manage to find their way out of bed in the morning!
  • Sounds like a great party! And mmmm, you've made me hungry with your menu!!

    Re: Rude people.

    Hmm... I don't think it's generational, I think it's more cultural. I don't generally feel like engagements get blown off by my most friends (once they're set in stone; there IS an infuriating amount of hem-hawing over when we should get together because, "Oh, I have work in the morning so I can't be out late..." For Chrissakes, you're 24, a late Tuesday night won't kill you. /tangent), but I often feel like my extended family can't be arsed, for one reason or another. Then again, I might be unusual for my generation in that I tend to only keep a close group of a few friends, so it's not uncommon for me only invite five to seven* people.

    For my part, I try to respond to all invites with a yes/no/maybe. I have a bad habit of being late, but I don't think I've ever been so late that I might as well not have come at all! If I'm going to be that late, I call or text.

    *Of course, I feel like I'm in a transitional period as far as relationships go, with 99% of my friends living in completely different places. Of all of my closest friends, I don't think a single one lives in the same state as any given other.

    So yeah, I don't think it's generational, since I the 20-30 somethings I know do or don't respond with the same (or higher) frequency as 40s+. Of course, even if 90% of 20-somethings didn't give any response to an invite, I'd still consider it rude. But then, I also think that iPhone use at the dinner table is rude, so what do I know?
  • No, it's not generational. It's educational (punctuality, RSVP, cell phones) and trascends boundaries.
    The worst story ever was the baptism of one of my nephews: everybody was there, priest, godfather, baby but ... no godmother. When she showed up, an hour or so late, her excuse was that the hairdryer had broken down!!!!! She had no cell phone at the time, otherwise she would have been texting through the ceremony, I'm sure.
    Is it too much to ask for the recipies? My youngest daughter is trying to eat vegetarian and I'm sorely lacking in appealing recipies.
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