I don’t know how the least few years have been for you, but the last, oh, two decades have felt like an ever accelerating roller coaster ride … after you ate the chili dog and large soda. The last three years, in particular, have been grim ones for me and my family. This is a large part of the reason this blog has lain dormant. My mind was more than full of things that are not appropriate to be delved into in public forums, and there was little authentic left over to be broadly discussed (except for cats. Cats are great. Hero and Leander became best friends and are a joy, delight and constant source of mischief.)
But if we were going to survive this all and still like each other at the end, we needed to bolster what was good. And my husband and I realized … we needed to have fun together, or nothing would seem worthwhile.
You remember fun, right? It’s that thing you do where you feel happy, and have good memories and enjoy yourself? You know, like laughing and light-hearted? Yeah. We’d kind of forgotten too.
But in the moment where society started carefully emerging from pandemic isolation – like a groundhogs sensing the coming spring, Adam got us tickets to an Event. The tickets said “Cocktail attire required”. And so we got dressed up and drove into Boston and sashayed around the common in the cold and went to this Beacon Hill mansion and got overpriced cocktails in a glamorous library with other well-dressed patrons and watched a magic show and re-creation seance.
And guys, it was SO MUCH FUN. And as we drove home, glowing with pleasure, we decided that we should do a Fun Thing every month. A thing we wouldn’t otherwise do. Dressing up preferred. I began the hunt for fun things, and here’s how it went.
March – Four Handed Illusion
This is the event that started it all. It’s held in this glorious setting (Although the books in the library are clearly for show and not for reading, which makes me sad). I actually super appreciated the formal nature of the attire – something about having to put on your finest and make an effort makes being a participant in the audience even more fun. Adam and I have both read rather extensively on the Spiritualism movement (for a fun time, ask me about the Mechanical Jesus next time you’re at a cocktail party with me), and the second half séance was a tour de force of just how the Fox sisters did it. I was grinning from ear to ear under my mask the whole time.
April – Tea at the Boston Public Library
No sooner had I heard that tea at the Boston Public Library was a thing than I knew I had to go. We’ve enjoyed teas across the world (ok, Victoria and London) and there’s something about crustless sandwiches that just makes you put out your pinkie finger while you drink your beverage. Good times are often better when shared with good friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed dragged our camping companions and gaming buddies along with us to a fancy dress occasion. Who knew they looked so good cleaned up? The only regret about this adventure is we had to get back to town in time for the soccer game (Adam coaches) and couldn’t linger in the library.
Don’t ask how old I was when I figured out how you actually pronounce petit-fours
May – Sculler’s Jazz Club
What I was going for: speakeasy vibe with dinner. What I got: awkward dinner in a nearly empty restaurant where the only other diners were the band and _extremely_ experimental jazz. This was fun, but probably the biggest mismatch between price and enjoyment we’ve had so far. We went in cold to the ensemble and, uh, they would have benefited from some of our prior knowledge. And the dinner was fine at prices that were exceptional. As I told Adam, if all of our adventures are huge hits, we aren’t being adventurous enough. We were adventurous here, at least!
June – Belle and Sebastian
This group is a favorite of our pandemic podmates, and when I found out they were heading to Boston, it was a no brainer that we’d be there to greet them. We’d seen the Mountain Goats together in the fall, and it had felt really weird in the masking and “are we supposed to be distancing” space of fall 2021. But Belle and Sebastian was just a fantastic concert in a brand new venue – Roadrunner – in Boston. The floor wasn’t even sticky yet. We danced and sang and had a fantastic time under the black lights.
July – New England Revolution
Mixing it up from our concerts and 19th century entertainments, we went to Foxboro (my first time for not a vaccination) in July to catch the New England Revolution home opener. We do really love watching football, and while men’s football isn’t my first choice, we actually were at the very last professional women’s soccer game in Boston and will have to wait a while for it to return. I went to three professional sports events this year: 3 of us for soccer, 2 of us for Mariner’s baseball and 1 ticket for Patriot’s football. I paid the same for all three events.
August – Roaring 20s Lawn Party at the Crane Estates
On one of the hottest days of a roasting summer, we dressed in our finest and drove up Cape Ann to Ipswitch to the beach… wearing our finest duds and preparing to drink squash and jitterbug to our heart’s content (although I had the foresite to pack swimming suits). And we had a blast, in the pounding heat. Adam did a ton of dancing. We enjoyed the very on point outfits and setups. And when the heat finally overwhelmed us, Nathan and I went down to the water and cooled our hot selves while finding horseshoe crabs and throwing rocks into the water.
September – Essex Dinner Train
I admittedly was starting to feel the heat of having to find a cool new thing to do every month. I mean, how do you find cool things to do? Some of the above was serendipity. Much of the rest was Googling. I keep looking for public murder mystery dinners, but to no avail. But I found a ball (tragically sold out) on a dinner train, and figured we could at least do the dinner train. So Adam and I drove down to Essex and then took this dinner train ride. Which was … fine. Perfectly fine. Much better if you were perhaps over 60. Nothing wrong with it, but not on my list of most memorable meals ever.
October – Fancy Dress gaming dinner with Paul of Wandering DMs
OK, so this probably doesn’t _actually_ count since I would have done this without the challenge. But October is the busiest month in the Flynniverse. For Adam’s birthday we asked our college friend Paul, who is as close to a professional role player as you get, to run a game for us. Ideally where all of us were formally dressed. I’m happy to report that Tobin brought the evening to a rousing and successful conclusion with a bit of murder and pumpkin-spelunking. Those villagers will never know what hit them.
November … requires a writeup all its own.
But folks, I have a problem. I’m running out of ideas. So please … what should we do? What depths of cultural experience have gone unplumbed? What opportunities to dress up have we missed? How can we be fancy and fun and make memories we’ll never forget? Let me know – no idea too crazy to be considered! Also, what have you done lately? Are you having fun? What’s between you and that epic funness? What amazingly fun things have you done lately that we should put on our agenda?