Monday, July 25, 2011

House Guests, Bathtub Races, Birthdays -- Summer's Here!

Friday afternoon Daughter #3 arrived, Saturday morning two of her friends, Saturday afternoon another one, then Sunday morning her husband. Shortly after that, Daughter #1 unpacked, with her husband and our granddaughter, and we all visited for a while before the three friends decamped, leaving only family.  Appliances whirred and hummed and swished washing and drying loads of linens so beds could be remade;  I swear I can hear the dishwasher heave an exhausted sigh in the brief pauses between refills.

But the young visitors are all delightful, considerate houseguests who seem to want me to stay at the table with them long after dinner ends -- they help with the cooking and are enthusiastically grateful for the food I put in front of them.

And they contribute meaningfully to the menus -- I used to wheel home barrows of groceries when these same young people, as teens, were part of the weekend crowd around here in the summer, but now they bring vegetables, bags of fruit, loaves of fresh bread. And their taste in beverages has improved significantly since back in the day . . .

 Still, some amusing combos -- two squash sit alongside a bag of the beloved beef jerky. . .
 And most importantly, they brought sunshine. And then they basked in it. We had summer moments all weekend long. . . .

watching the bathtubs race by. . .

a dragonboat team practising. . . .
Today's the birthday of our oldest, Daughter #1 and our youngest, Only Son. I'm the teeniest bit melancholy because it's probably the first time in years (ever?) that he hasn't been with us on Bathtub Weekend, and I'd love to be baking him a cake today as well as one for his sister. Happy Birthday Zach -- love you, son!
But birthday girl is here, and Nola is very excited about the cake and candles.
And we have more guests arriving this afternoon, another small family whose little girl will surely shock us by being quite grown up. Could she be 8 already? 9? We haven't seen this family for four years, so we'll have a great celebration over cake and chilled rosé and whatever menu we decide on as soon as I finish this post -- I had planned on cioppino, but I'm not sure that will be practical for 10. We'll see. . . might be better to delegate something to the grill crew.
Whatever we eat tonight, we'll eat it in the true spirit of summer, that expansive front-deck or back patio savouring accompanied by the background music of neighbours' voices drifting over fences.  Swallows, perhaps even a bat or two, will swoop in to grab a few of the bugs that we've been swatting at. We'll fret a bit about a marauding wasp and then decide to ignore it, and we'll wonder how close that raccoon will dare to creep as it eyes a fallen bit of food. The parents will put the two little girls to bed and we'll sit a bit longer as the sky darkens, catching up on our news and our plans, and hoping it doesn't take quite so many years to bring us back to this summer moment. This summer moment that makes me believe time is cyclical, not linear.

But, you know, waxing philosophical will not help me choose between cioppino and grilled sausages, and it's not going to get the salads sorted either. So off I go. Tell me, how are you celebrating summer this week. . .


  1. So beautiful. Summer nights, dinner outside, the long fall of darkness. Almost nothing as beautiful as that in the whole world. Your island, I just realized, reminds me of the Swedish one I visited last year. Gorgeous.

  2. It all sounds and looks so wonderful. I miss having a summer break.

    But I did invite some friends over for brunch next Sunday, and am hoping the weather will be conducive to al fresco dining.

  3. Summer festivities! Have a beautiful time visiting with your family.

  4. Dining al fresco in the summertime....
    for some reason your words are moving me to tears.
    It must be that Zach is not home for his birthday...
    children that have flown the nest are never forgotten.

  5. These langorous evenings, spent with friends and family- wonderful times!

    I have a friend whose kids and their growing families are always welcome, but asked to change the beds they use; she loves to cook but not do rooms!

    This week kicks off a steady stream of visitors for us, friends and family curious about our new life here. First up, blogger Rubiatonta and her friend, Mr. Pants!

  6. LPC: Summer islands, island summers, some spirit unites them all.
    Sue:I'll cross my fingers for your al fresco meal. We'll lost the sun here again, but are hoping to coax it back.
    Susan: Thanks!
    Hostess: Aw, didn't mean to make you teary --- the boy will be back here before long and I'll get in a belated birthday hug or two. . .
    Duchesse: Sometimes I'll get my kids to make up their own beds, and guests generally strip down, but I often enjoy the small act of grace, making beds up on my own as I ready for the visit. I'll just have to make sure to set new habits in place if/before I ever start feeling grumpy about it.. . .
    Have fun with your stream of visitors -- I know what a fabulous, fabulous hostess you can be, remembering your generous care of in Toronto -- don't wear yourself out, but enjoy, enjoy!


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