Last week I was trying to write a humor column about summer in Seattle. The deadline arrived, and all I had were a lot of disjointed anecdotes about trying to cram a whole summer's worth of activities into the nine weeks of actual summer weather between July 4 and Labor Day.
I called the editor and wheedled a 24-hour extension, hoping that somehow inspiration would strike. It did, about five minutes later, when I got an email saying that the conference center where I had been scheduled to attend a workshop next month had burned to the ground.
"Fanastic!" my column-writing alter ego exclaimed as she crossed the workshop off the calendar. "Er, sorry, I hope nobody got hurt."
In real life, the workshop is probably going to take place anyway, at a backup location. But that incident was the perfect illustration of how out-of-hand a summer calendar can get.
Ours was pretty much filled by last week — but this week 8 or 9 new barbecue invitations arrived, plus some neighborhood cat-sitting assignments.
[Make than 10. No joke: Less than 60 seconds after I hit "publish" on this post, T. forwarded to me an invitation to a barbecue for -- tomorrow night.]
One ray of hope for the summer social schedule:
Last week we had friends over to dinner and I served a three-dish menu that worked perfectly. It was fun to cook (two of the dishes are done on the outdoor grill), tasty, and, if you considered the dishes in pairs, the menu works with meat-eaters, vegetarians, low-carbohydrate dieters, or people who prefer a Mediterranean diet with carbs and vegetables.
This solves my perennial summer problem of what to cook for guests. This menu will be repeated throughout the summer with slight variations.