IN THE SPIRIT OF my delightful new pal Tracey, who was a fantastic addition to this year's Chesapeake Bay Blogfest, I'd like to share a few things I learned at last week's Bacchanalia Saturnalia gathering:
There is no point in trying to blow-dry or straighten your hair in Mathews, VA in July. Either it's going to be windblown, or the humidity will cause it to curl up and/or frizz out. A baseball cap is your friend.
That said, these curls? What am I going to do with them?? Just when you decide you can't stand your hair, a bunch of other people shower you with compliments. I dunno.
Another lesson learned: When you leave home for a long weekend, you're likely to miss something HUGE. Like, for example, A 3.6 EARTHQUAKE IN MARYLAND, whose epicenter was only 5 miles from our house. True story! My cell phone buzzed just after 5am Friday morning. It was Soup Husband Curt (bless him), calling to share with me that they'd just had an earthquake, and the bedroom door, that was nearly closed but not latched, had swung open! No other damage, but that was it, and he was calling me to share it, and I ignored it, because it was 5am, and then didn't I feel like an ass.
Also? Things can fix themselves when you're not around. Saturday night, The Boss called me to say that he had managed to turn on the "dead" laptop – you have to hold down the power button for a few seconds – and could he please keep it now that he "fixed" it? Well, I'll be damned. Two people who know about these things declared that the computer's motherboard was dead and till I bought a new board, I might as well buy a new laptop. Yet when I returned home, the Lazarus Laptop was working just as it had before it died, over a year ago.
Another lesson: Houses on the water have healing powers. Spend enough time around them and you'll find your jaw unclenches, your shoulders retreat from your ears back to their rightful place, the knots in your back dissolve, and your blood pressure plummets (in a good way). You'll find yourself laughing and smiling and not much caring about schedules or appearances. Oh sure, wine helps, but I believe that an afternoon in this chair, gazing out over the water, listening to the birds, and sipping sweet tea would be sufficient on its own.
Old houses can speak to you in ways new ones don't. Or can't. This is a shot from inside the kitchen of an old property that belonged to Big Hair Envy's family. It was as if one day the residents vacated in a hurry, leaving things behind, maybe intending to come back for them, or maybe not. It's the kind of place that prompts you to invent elaborate storylines in your head.
If houses on the water have restorative properties, parties on the water have them times a thousand. This year, Noe Noe Girl's husband, CW, crafted this sign and placed it on the beach as a surprise for our host, Bud. He also carefully selected the branch to be its post… and what I don't know is whether he envisioned it would hold a selection of beer bottles by the end of the party time the party started. Either way… the Bud's Beach party is a much-beloved tradition of our little gathering. It wouldn't be Blogfest without it.
Cheaspeake Bay Woman is the mastermind behind this event and a most extraordinary host. I'm sure she had no idea when she proposed this last year, that we would actually come. But we did come last year, and then we came back this year, and here is the thing: People who aren't familiar with the blogosphere just don't understand why we'd all want to come together and and hang out "in real life." But that, friends, is the true joy behind blogging. You connect with people through their blogs, but the real fun is in seeing the faces, hearing the voices, sharing the laughter, drinking the wine… engaging in meaningless chitchat and weighty conversations with these people with whom you've connected.
And now we're all trying to write about it on our blogs, and some of us are struggling to capture its essence in words. Maybe it's one of those things where you just had to be there to truly get it. Because on the surface, what's the big deal? We came, we ate, we drank, we photographed, we sang karaoke. But we also connected. We empathized. We understood. And I think that's what it's all about.