Nadia, Ellie, and Sue - wandering off to find mischief.

Nadia, Ellie, and Sue – wandering off to find mischief.

I’m not going to try to explain how I came to be part of a fantastic, fun-filled, friend-fueled weekend getaway at a beautiful farmhouse and a lakefront cottage near Tremblant Quebec.

Quite frankly, the tale is kind of the epitome of a “you had to be there” scenario, and really, the story about whom I knew and how they managed to invite me along is beside the point.

Suffice it to say that I and three of my closest friends were invited for the weekend, to hang out with our host, Craig, and to celebrate a 50th birthday with his own tribe.

This group – about 16 people who have all been best of friends for decades – had no clue about who we were. We were mostly strangers to them.

We could easily have been seen as infiltrators to their clique – and had that happened, I probably would be writing a very different blog post – but instead, they welcomed us with open and generous hearts as a new and valuable addition to their group.

They included us in their party games, in helping prepare the amazing BBQ steak dinner, and in the after-dinner dance party that erupted spontaneously and went on until the wee hours.

I’m inspired by open-minded people. I am in awe of people who embrace new experiences and who delight in engaging with new people; new friends.

This group is comprised largely of fifty-somethings, and with such a big group, it would be easy for them to limit membership to existing acquaintances. But while they might be “of a certain age,” they have the energy and joy of teenagers. I aspire to maintain that kind of open-mindedness as I move through life.

I know I’m halfway through my 40s, and I have my own tribe of friends, but if we can have as much fun as these people and grow our group as we get older, we’ll be doing well.

My grandmother taught me to be a social creature – but this weekend was a great reminder that it’s important to maintain that social openness throughout life.

I already have an extraordinary group of friends, but it’s never too late to build more connections with good people.

I’m gonna take this opportunity to post all the photos form this weekend – of the birthday party and of the rest of our time. I’ll use captions to explain what you’re looking at, but be patient. There are about 45 photos
.

First night at the farmhouse, we enjoyed a campfire and s'mores.

First night at the farmhouse, we enjoyed a campfire and s’mores.

A few shots I took around the property - out the front door of the farmhouse.

A few shots I took around the property – out the front door of the farmhouse.

I'm obsessed with leading lines in photos, and fences make for an easy subject/

I’m obsessed with leading lines in photos, and fences make for an easy subject/

...and so do dirt roads.

…and so do dirt roads.

The farmhouse. So peaceful.

The farmhouse. So peaceful.

The front porch is a nice place to sit in the mornings, on a rocker in the shade, with a coffee in hand. Picasso stands watch.

The front porch is a nice place to sit in the mornings, on a rocker in the shade, with a coffee in hand. Picasso stands watch.

We couldn't have asked for nicer weather - clear skies and hot.

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather – clear skies and hot.

The rear of the property - and the campfire by daylight.

The rear of the property – and the campfire by daylight.

On Saturday afternoon, before the party, our small group went to spend a few hours at Craig's nearby cottage, and to swim in the lake.

On Saturday afternoon, before the party, our small group went to spend a few hours at Craig’s nearby cottage, and to swim in the lake.

Picasso spent more time in the water than any of us - but that was good because he cleared away a lot of the pollen sitting on top of the water.

Picasso spent more time in the water than any of us – but that was good because he cleared away a lot of the pollen sitting on top of the water.

Lake view - there was no chance of me getting a shot WITHOUT Picasso in it.

Lake view – there was no chance of me getting a shot WITHOUT Picasso in it.

More lake view - from the dock.

More lake view – from the dock.

The nearby house is for sale. They're only asking $700K.

The nearby house is for sale. They’re only asking $700K.

We did swim - just not as much as the dog.

We did swim – just not as much as the dog.

The freckled girls comparing their "tans"

The freckled girls comparing their “tans”

Group shot of MY tribe.

Group shot of MY tribe.

We got a table for 21 set up just in time for the arrival of the big gang.

We got a table for 21 set up just in time for the arrival of the big gang.

Rick, Craig, and Nadia - group hugs and photo bombing.

Rick, Craig, and Nadia – group hugs and photo bombing.

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Kate!

One of the party games was supposed to involve getting a Fudgee-O from your forehead to your mouth without using your hands. We never got to play that one, but that didn't mean we couldn't eat the Fudgee-O's!

One of the party games was supposed to involve getting a Fudgee-O from your forehead to your mouth without using your hands. We never got to play that one, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t eat the Fudgee-O’s!

A platter of steaks, ready for the grill!

A platter of steaks, ready for the grill!

Jonathan was our chef - and while he had help, kudos to him for some seriously well-prepared steaks.

Jonathan was our chef – and while he had help, kudos to him for some seriously well-prepared steaks.

Oscar, Bill, and Craig - the peanut gallery, watching the chef at work.

Oscar, Bill, and Craig – the peanut gallery, watching the chef at work.

Salmon and Chicken for those uninterested in steak (weirdos)

Salmon and Chicken for those uninterested in steak (weirdos)

Veggies - cooked in bacon fat. Why didn't I think of that before?!

Veggies – cooked in bacon fat. Why didn’t I think of that before?!

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There's a widow's walk on the roof of the barn. Great place to see the entire farm.

There’s a widow’s walk on the roof of the barn. Great place to see the entire farm.

Kate, Ellie, Heather, and Michelle on top of the barn. Sunlight was just right for this one.

Kate, Ellie, Heather, and Michelle on top of the barn. Sunlight was just right for this one.

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Jenn!

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Craig and Nadia

Craig and Nadia

Just a door on the barn - doors are another favourite subject for my photos.

Just a door on the barn – doors are another favourite subject for my photos.

What did I just say?

What did I just say?

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Bill and Craig

Bill and Craig

Michelle

Michelle!

There was quite a kerfuffle with trying to mark steaks as rare, medium, etc. In the end, we had a system of skewers and stickers. It was overly complicated, but we were all half toasted.

There was quite a kerfuffle with trying to mark steaks as rare, medium, etc. In the end, we had a system of skewers and stickers. It was overly complicated, but we were all half toasted.

Sue, prepping some stickered skewers..

Sue, prepping some stickered skewers..

Rick and Bill, checking out Jonathan's handiwork on the grill.

Rick and Bill, checking out Jonathan’s handiwork on the grill.

Jonathan and Nadia try to keep track of who ordered what steak, and how.

Jonathan and Nadia try to keep track of who ordered what steak, and how.

You can see the list of names and cooking preferences in back.

You can see the list of names and cooking preferences in back.

View of the farmlands from the widow's walk. Another set of leading lines.

View of the farmlands from the widow’s walk. Another set of leading lines.

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Jonathan at the grill, from the Widow's walk.

Jonathan at the grill, from the Widow’s walk.

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