Rain, rain go away…

I feel like I might have said that very thing a time or two before. Today was a complete regression to the fall. Grey sky, rain all day, wind and not a moment of sunshine. I have no shame in admitting that today is not a day that we have left the house. The boys don’t even want to go out onto the terrace to write their pee-mail.

So what did we do instead? Read the paper cover to cover, including the extra Saturday sections, cleaned the kitchen and commanded the dishes into a semblance of orderliness, took a nap, practiced the banjo for a long time until George came up to me and put his paws on the strings as if to say “No more, Mommy, my ears are bleeding”. This time I even practiced at the dining room table so they wouldn’t have to be tortured like that. I was really struggling though, especially since I needed to retune to C instead of D which doesn’t lead to the best sounds if you don’t do it properly.

I fired up the rice cooker today for the first time. It’s not your usual rice cooker, you can also saute in it. Which is kind of a weird concept but useful if you want to throw in some veggies with your rice and not have to use a second pan. I freely admit I am a fan of one pan cooking. It was a plus to not burn the rice which I tend to do since I am not so handy with the gas stove for simmering.

I dreamed about my mom yesterday. When we lived in Seattle, there was a time that Dylan was commuting through Seattle from Bainbridge to the airport and once a week he would stop in for dinner. My mom and I always used to struggle with those occasions because you never knew what kind of mode Dylan would be in, which could make the evening either bearable or spectacularly unpleasant. We used to pep each other up for those evenings, usually by saying the worst things possible until we would begin to laugh at how ridiculous we were getting. Yesterday, I was so worn out from the social energy needed this week (including seeing Dylan at Schiphol) that I fell asleep on the massage table and dreamed about laughing with my mom over the Dylan experience. I guess you could say my brain was processing it out. I was glad to dream it because I was laughing with my mom, not crying or trying to find her as so often is the case. So, thanks, Dylan for bringing up all that residual trauma and giving me a good dream about Mom 🙂

Yesterday evening, I arrived early at the cafĂ© for our party. I didn’t want other people to be the first to arrive and not see anyone. As I was sitting there in the midst of our reserved section, I started to get progressively more and more nervous. The barman had said that we were expecting 60 people. That set me nearly to hyperventilating. So, as you can imagine I was working myself up pretty well. As each minute passed, I was more and more convinced that I had the wrong night, that no body would come, etc. It was pretty funny actually because I knew perfectly well I had the right night and place and that people would be coming. I was just winding myself up because I was super nervous.

Eventually people began to trickle in, which was a relief. Blending your crowd is an interesting thing. For a long time, there was a very obvious social Iron Curtain hanging through the middle of the party. It reminded me of those awkward teenage years where at school dances, boys were on one side of the gym and girls on the other. Only the bravest actually mingled. Of course, now with Facebook and what not, that kind of thing is probably long forgotten. So you take small steps and you try to talk to people and make the effort. Or you pass the plates of fried snacks and look for a way to keep busy. Or you introduce a few people to each other – which is weird. I do this automatically but Dutch people do it themselves. For example, I would say “this is Marianne” to an existing group and then I would go around the group and introduce each person by way of saying “This is Paul, this is Astrid, this is Caroline”. That’s not how it works here. People introduce themselves and they are used to doing it so they don’t need an ambassador! I will work on remembering that for the next event.

I believe people enjoyed themselves, which was the goal. I think there is room for improvement in terms of mixing the groups together. Maybe that means hosting an outdoor potluck next year in one of the parks or other places. Or inviting everyone to do Silent Disco. That will surely break the ice!

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