Life: cooking, eating with friends, music jamming, dancing

Abby and I went to a French potluck dance party at Lisa’s, the first one we’ve attended together in ten months (although I went to one without Abby half a year ago when she was out of town).

It was a wonderful experience, one that we’ve missed for two months, since we have not gone out to a party with friends since Abby got a new job and we’ve had to adapt to that big change in our lives.

Although we still had to leave early, I was reminded of what I really enjoy in life, deep down: nothing fancy, just getting together and having fun and being creative.

Music jamming

I hadn’t done French music jamming in months, so when Abby and I arrived, and dinner was still being prepared, and John said “hey, let’s play”, I pulled out my flutes (both my standard Boehm flute and my wooden Irish flute) and went at it with him on melodeon. We hadn’t played together in half a year! Susan joined in at some point, also on melodeon.

We played mazurka and Schottische and other music for about half an hour, from John’s memory, as I tried to follow along by ear. I realized how much I miss French music jamming. Lisa’s been hosting it again recently, but there have been schedule conflicts for me, but it looks like we’ll be getting on a schedule that works for me. I’m coming back!

While I was taking a break, John played a multi-section hanter dro that Fabien and Lisa started dancing to, and I joined them in their line and picked it up. Again, something I hadn’t done in a while, and almost forgotten the unique pleasure of!


This seemed to me the biggest French potluck party yet, with almost twenty people present, I believe. We met some new people as well as old friends.

At dinner

I baked a butternut squash to bring. I only very, very lightly seasoned it, to not detract from the natural flavor of the squash:

Butternut squash

Abby made a kale and mushroom dish:


The other guests all brought a lot of great homemade food, and Lisa and Alex provided tasty and filling entrees and desserts. A fantastic meal!




Yes, there were Brussels sprouts, and I enjoyed them!

Brussels sprouts

Cookies (and other desserts)

In accordance with my rule:

Music-themed cookies homemade from molds:

Musical cookies

I ate one, of a dancing couple:

A slice of yummy chocolatey thing:


A slice of chocolate cake:

Chocolate cake

(Unfortunately, I think I should have cut myself a smaller slice, instead of accepting a precut slice.)

A tiny piece of a very rich, buttery thing:

A non-homemade cookie from a box (I didn’t need to eat this):


After dinner, Lisa and Fabien started off the dancing portion of the evening, by re-teaching the “Congo de Captieux” set dance that Lisa and Lynn had taught ten months ago. It had been so long that Abby and I barely remembered it and were practically learning it from scratch again.

All of eventually got through it! I got sweaty again.

After that, there was a break, and since it was already “late” (for Abby and me on our current schedule), we had to say goodbye, just as the “regular” French dance portion of the evening was about to begin (bourrĂ©es, waltzes, mazurkas, hanter dro, more music jamming, etc.)

Some photos of dancing that I took before we left early:


It was a beautiful evening that filled my belly and soul. It’s been such a blessing to have been brought into this world of French traditional dance and music through the enthusiasm and generosity of Lisa two years ago and many others. I feel like my life has been immeasurably enriched.

If you’re in the Pittsburgh area and want to join in, we always welcome more dancers and musicians. (Or even if you’re not in the Pittsburgh area, as we’ve had visitors from further away.)

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