California (Knows How to Party)

Friends, something special going to happen in a few short days. Parties here at the Ranch go way back. I learned my party-throwing skills from my parents and godparents, who taught me about kegs of beer, pit barbeques, live music, and straw-bale lawn furniture when I was but a wee thing. Granted, the kegs of beer were fun when I was little mainly because of the cans of Hansen’s soda floating in the icy tub, but I was known to beg a glug of beer off a grown-up now and then as well. I would even pitch in by giving pony rides to the little kids with my feisty Welsh pony, who miraculously put up with it for hours on end. Not normally known for his patience, was he.

Year later, my sister and I took up the mantle, throwing a series of annual summer “Ho-Downs” here at the Ranch with another close friend. These epic parties were more like raves, with two fulls days of camping and DJs and lots of people. Porta-potties, multiple kegs, generators. Big time. Unfortunately, those parties took a turn to the dark side when they got too big, and people who didn’t know me or my sister acted disrespectfully towards us and our home. There always some yahoo gotta ruin it for the rest of us.

But lesson learned and moving on, after a few years off to regroup, my sister and I resurrected the Ranch Party. This time around the guest list is scrupulously managed, and much smaller than before. It’s not to be snobby, but rather because, after years of practice, we know what works. People from various walks of life, but similar sensibilities about generosity, cooperation, and, of course, shenanigans, just make for a better party. As a rule, you don’t get an invite unless you’ve been here before, and we know you can play well with others. No drama, no fuss, and no one getting stuck doing more than her fair share of work. Once this party gets going, it runs itself.

I thought a lot about whether to write about Ranch Party, because it is very personal and it almost belongs to a part of my life that is separate from this blog. On the other hand, the hard work, planning, and creativity that goes into preparing for the party is something that fits right in with the kind of stuff I talk about here. In the end, I am finding that I just can’t help it! I’m so excited!

Let me make a big confession: I am a girl who thinks about her wedding even though a groom is nowhere on the horizon. But before you groan, wait! Listen! It’s not because I collect unicorns and watch princess movies, it’s because I LOVE THROWING PARTIES. I love it! It truly is an art form, as years of practice have taught me. I love thinking about the music, the lights, the flowers, the food, and making everything just right. There’s something very deeply gratifying about creating a wonderful experience for people you love and then getting to watch it all unfold. And, when done right, that’s how throwing a good party is. Sitting back with a cold beer and taking in the spontaneous combustion that occurs when you take a beautiful setting and mix in great people, flowing drinks, bumping speakers, and a whole bunch of twinkly lights.

So, of course, this isn’t a wedding, but Ranch Party is an opportunity to create something way beyond your typical summer barbeque. Because I live here now, I have plenty of time to realize a vision for it that we were never able to pull off in the few short days we had to get ready in the past (especially when my crazy job prevented me from fully participating in the set-up, leaving my sister to do a lot on her own – which she did an awesome job at, mind you). It’s going to be magical and unforgettable. Thanks to a ton of help from Paul, the incredible cache of party-supplies we have amassed over the years, and of course the awesome rabble-rousers who will be bringing it this year, this is going to be a spectacular event.

Nothing like Dre’s party. But then, that’s okay with me.

2 thoughts on “California (Knows How to Party)

  1. Yes, I agree. Throwing parties is so fun! From the planning stage all the way to the guests are here stage.

  2. you sound a lot like my daughter Kathy! she LOVES to host a party…can’t tell you the number of excuses she’s come up with for a party. We too host a somewhat annual party @ our place…taking a year off this year, but can relate to what you’re talking about…here’s to an excellent party! DM

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