The morning packing went fairly well, and my friend Lilya even got to sleep another hour before I picked her up for the day’s events. And the “House of Coffee Splendor” went over fabulously. I arrived on site for the tournament a little after 7 am, and my friends helped me drag everything out of the car into the shady grass. I served coffee with zillions of flavored creamers and different kinds of sweetners (Vanilla Toffee Caramel was the biggest hit), tea and honey (Peach was the big hit this time), hot chocolate (for both grown-ups and kids alike), and spiced Hot Cider with sliced apples, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves (had to even make two pots of this). Besides the faithful fans who came to enjoy the coffee and other hot drinks, there were even a few friends who insisted on tipping me a dollar here and a dollar there. That was a first, and very silly! *Grin*

I met some wonderful new folks from the next shire up the coast including a Ph.D. student in English lit and her husband, some new folks from my home shire I had never met much before, and got re-acquainted with some folks I just have been missing over the past year and a half I’ve spent “living abroad.” I miss my “home town” a lot, and I could easily imagine my new job as my “get back on my feet job” and coming back within the next two years or so. No promises, just a feeling in my gut.

Speaking of feelings in my gut—isn’t it funny how you can feel like you’re back in junior high asking a friend to pass notes in homeroom to see if so-and-so likes you? Crushes are silly funny things, and it’s weird to have to deal with them. I love my close friends, and I’m sure they’re having fun laughing with me and my jr-high-like silliness. ‘Nuf said, that’s all I’m going to write about that for now. *grin*

After the event, during which I filled my entire memory card on my digital camera, we had yummy monogolian barbeque for the birthday celebrations of anyone in our group with April, May, and June birthdays. I still need to follow up with some gifts and/or cards, but I love the small-town feel of going out to eat with everyone. I’m glad we’re a close-knit group—it’s so relaxing and wonderful.

I’m also glad I was carpooling with Dayle, because I’d have been even more lost and late-arriving if we didn’t have her in the car. I didn’t realize there was a Mongolian BBQ just 3 blocks from the site of the tournament—I thought we were all going across town to “the other one.” Thanks again to Dayle!

Also, huge thanks to her for being the greatest hostess and having such a wonderful home. First, Lilya was able to crash there with me, at the last moment, and second we were able to have a bunch of folks come over after BBQ and sit around chatting till all hours. It was such an amazing dynamic because the folks there were a collection of very opininated talkative people, who really listened and shared more than you usually get with friends sitting around chatting. It seemed so facinating to me, to listen, to chime in, and yet to feel so much respect and sanity and support from one another. We come from a wide variety of religious and political opinions, we have different kinds of relationships in our lives, and we really talked about deep issues. And lo, it was good. It was one of those evenings I’ll always think of fondly and marvel at when I remember it.

Now I’m very VERY thankful to drift off to sleep. G’night.