:::this is the way the world ends:::

Asps. Very Dangerous. You Go First.

Not an asp. 

You guys might have heard, the first Indiana Jones movie in 19 years is coming out this Memorial Day weekend.  So, Steph and I have devised an equation.

Memorial Day + Kansas City + HM and their wives + Indiana Jones + (optional beer & pipes) = a Memorable Weekend

Are you in or are you out?  Let us know.  Discuss below.


  1. Pete

    If there is Nelson Lawn Extreme Bocce, we are in!

  2. Tobias

    Okay, Petes.

    New equation:

    Memorial Day + Kansas City + HM and their wives + Indiana Jones + Nelson Lawn Extreme Bocce + (optional beer & pipes) = a Super Memorable Weekend

  3. J.E.

    I think Liz and I stand a good chance of making it. Plan on us being there — even though Liz really hates Mr. Ford.

  4. Shotts

    Jen and I would like to come. I think we “stand a good chance” as well, to use J.E.’s phrase. This sounds like a great time. Thanks, Toby and Steph, for the invitation!

    Jen and I will continue discussing, and will confirm, of course. I am definitely in for Bocce and Indiana Jones and certainly a beer or two, and also requisite conversation and instigation. And also advice-and-support gathering. And Clara-observing and -holding. And a good amount of walking.

    Tob, I assume this means a Friday through Monday kind of thing for Memorial Day weekend (arrive Friday, depart Monday)? Or did you have something else in mind?

  5. Tobias

    Great to hear everyone’s interested so far…. Everything above sounds great to us.

    You are all welcome to come in anytime Friday afternoon/evening and stay through Monday-ish. We’re willing to host all couples, and maybe we can assign meals to keep costs down (maybe go out one night).

    If everybody comes we’ll be short one private room — but we can cross that bridge we come to it (and if it’s not congested with Thuggee guards).

  6. J.E.

    Fantastic! I hope everyone can make it!

  7. Pete

    the extra room is no problem. I am getting a tent for the BAK this year that someone other than me is more than welcome to sleep in. 🙂

  8. Ned

    I just got back from New York, which was good but exhausting. I saw a lot of art and heard some good music. Now I have a lot of work to do. Both the MOMA and the Guggenheim had terrific shows. As well we got to some interesting smaller shows.

    I’m not sure that hating Ford makes much sense, but I guess it’s possible to exert emotions in that direction.

    I have the new Devotchka album and it is absolutely fabulous. I loved their last album and this one is every bit as good.

    Good to hear everyone is on board for the weekend. Sara and I would like to participate in this weekend, but it poses some complications. Sara said it would be good for me, since I don’t have any social life here to speak of.

    I assume that the HM guys and their spouses excludes my children, which is understandable. However, to ask a family member to take my kids and then not take time to spend with that family is not very considerate. You need only imagine if I dropped my kids off at your house to spend a weekend with another of you to understand how this would feel.

    Sara doesn’t like the idea of being so close to family without seeing them. That turns my visit down to K.C. to a week long endeavor with additional driving. With preparations for a large show, sketches and paintings due for my next book etc., I don’t know if I can afford a whole week. So we’ll see.

    You all know that I was as big an Indiana Jones fan as any and I would like to see if my bocce ball luck was beginner’s or something more phenomenal. And if I make it, I would like to add art venues that are open on a Saturday afternoon to the mix. There might not be a new U2 album out, but Devotchka is pretty damn good.

  9. J.E.

    Okay, so can we add “HM kids” to the equation?

  10. Tobias

    Adding HM kids to the equation isn’t a possibility for us this year. We hosted a get-together for some friends a year ago, and we included kids part of the time. It ended up being really difficult for us and our friends — most of the time ended up being centered around the kids and resulted in some broken things around our house. We learned a few things about hosting at the Becker house

    1) we love our friends and their kids
    2) our house hasn’t been kid-proofed yet
    3) mixing “adult time” with “kid time” in a large group for an extended period isn’t good for either kids or adults

    Other times we’ve been able to have a single family over for dinner with their kids, and that has worked. However, having a group of people, even with just a few kids, hasn’t worked for us.

    One thought for Ned and Sara may be to see if your families would want to visit KC and stay with the kids somewhere nearby. Then Ned and Sara could spend part of the time with family and part with the HM. Of course, there are drawbacks to that scenario too. Sorry we don’t have any other ideas yet (we’ll work on them!). I’m sure we will have to be addressing this each time we want to get together, especially with the number of children rising exponentially in the group. 🙂

  11. Shotts

    A message here to say that Jen and I are definitely planning to attend the Becker Memorial Day weekend in Kansas City. We will likely drive, arriving Friday probably in the early evening, and departing Monday by noon.

    We are certainly happy to provide/cook a meal or two, help organize and clean up, help with kids, and bring what would be helpful/useful/fun. And of course, going out to eat a time or two will, no doubt, be part of the agenda. I think you all know that Jen is vegetarian and I’m still only eating seafood, generally, as far as meat goes–but we can quite easily bring our own alternatives for the grill or for any meals.

    Tob, let us know as we get closer what we can bring to make it easier for you and Steph. You will have your hands full enough with Clara and with having all of us in your house. Would it be helpful if, for instance, we brought our own sheets and pillowcases and towels so you wouldn’t have loads of laundry afterward? Thanks again for inviting us and for hosting us.

    If I may make one request, it would be that Jen could be in her/our own bedroom, just because she is having trouble sleeping, now that she’s over twenty-two weeks pregnant. She will be around thirty weeks by Memorial Day weekend! I hope this is OK about the room. And there will likely be some times that we’ll be moving a little bit slower and might need some naps or rest frequently and also some additional snacks. Jen is not a huge Indiana Jones fan, so would be up for something else or a different movie, most likely. I don’t think she has any long-standing hatred of Harrison Ford, just a lack of interest in the kinds of movies he tends to be in.

    For bocce, we could bring multiple sets and have a sort of bracket tournament on the Nelson lawns, whittling it down to the Final Four. Speaking of which, go Kansas!

  12. Ned

    Sara and I have decided not to attend the gathering. We will miss fellowship with all of you, particularly seeing Jen while she is pregnant as this is often a very memorable time in a person’s life; though perhaps we can see you guys in the cities.

    Thanks for your call the other night, J.E. it meant a lot.

  13. Tobias

    Ned, I’m really sad that you and Sara have decided that you guys can’t attend. I understand, but am bummed. If there are any additional enticements we can offer that would sway you, let us know….

  14. J.E.

    Liz and I are planning to be there too. We’ll start looking for tickets soon.

    Looking forward — though we will miss Ned, Sara, Eliot and Claire.

  15. J.E.

    Liz and I have booked tickets!

    We will arrive at 6:20 on Friday and leave early Tuesday morning. I’ll be renting a car and heading down to McPherson that morning to see Mom, Dad, Grandma, etc.

    I guess I’ll have to learn to play Extreme Bocce….

  16. Shotts

    That’s excellent, J.E.! Glad we will overlap with you and Liz the whole time, it sounds like. We’ll be driving down on Friday, May 23 and departing on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26.

  17. Tobias

    Happy Tuesday, everybody! Steph, Clara and I are anticipating this Memorial Day weekend. I thought I’d post a comment here to lay out some thoughts, questions, plans, etc.

    We have rooms set aside for everyone who is able to come. We have all of the bedding, pillows, towels, washcloths, etc. you should need. Feel free to bring your own items if you think you’ll need them too. The rooms should be pretty comfortable, I hope. The one sticking point is J.E. and Liz’s room…we don’t have curtains in the room to block light in the morning, just blinds, so you may wake earlier than the rest of the house. We could try to adapt something if it’s a problem.

    We want to keep a pretty flexible schedule, and I’m gathering a list of Memorial Day events around KC and general things to do if we want to participate in any of them. Of course, there are a few traditions to carry on…and some new ones to make.

    I’ve talked to you all about assigning meals. Again, flexibility is key:

    J.E. and Liz are in charge of Saturday and Sunday breakfasts
    Jeff and Jen are in charge of Saturday and Sunday lunches
    Toby, Steph, Jeff and Amanda are in charge of Sunday dinner and Monday brunch.

    We thought we’d have Friday night flexible with some dessert, and go out on Saturday. Sunday night we were going to grill out with meat and non-meat choices. Let us know any other dietary considerations you might need over the weekend. Mr. Shotts, we were going to pick up some specialty bratwurst and I wanted to make sure you were going to go vegetarian this weekend, otherwise we’ll pick you up some too.

    J.E. and Liz are flying in to KC around 6:00pm. Jeff and Jen, if you’re driving through, feel free to let us know if you want to pick them up. If not, I’m happy to go get them.

    Okay, I think that’s all for now…only three more days until the weekend!

  18. J.E.


    Liz and I arrive at 6:20 on Midwest Airlines.

  19. Tobias

    Steph tells me she’s got curtains for the bright room, so J.E. and Liz may be in luck….

  20. Shotts

    Thanks for setting everything up, Toby and Steph.

    We are happy to pick up J. E. and Liz on the way–6:20 pm, Midwest Airlines. So let’s plan for that. My cell: 612-232-6226.

    Jen and I are happy to work out lunch on Saturday and Sunday. I suspect this will mean we’ll need to run to the grocery store Friday night or Saturday morning. I also suspect that we will want to be out and about at least one of those days–around the Nelson Art Museum and lawn, the Plaza, etc., so admittedly, we might bag out on one of those lunches. We can all grab something cheapish or otherwise wherever we may be. Sound OK?

    Jen and I will both eat meat-free. I eat seafood, however. So no to the meat brats–but yes to any meatless brats. We can bring our own for the cookout, if you prefer, Toby. Thanks for thinking of it and inquiring.

    Thanks to all. Looking forward. Safe journeys. Toby, I will likely need to call you once we pick up J. E. and Liz, and you can talk us through directions to your house. Jen and I will probably leave Minneapolis around 10 am on Friday, and take it fairly leisurely southward. Give a call anytime, if need be.

  21. J.E.

    Wow! Great and thanks. See you Friday Shotts and Jen. We’ll be in touch.

    Liz and I will likely need to go to the store as well.

  22. Tobias

    Jeff — glad to hear you and Jen can meet J.E. and Liz at the airport. Gives us a little more time to get the final arrangements in order.

    I do think it makes sense to not count on one of those lunches, Jeff. It seems a little silly to tie ourselves to the house on one of those days. Although, it does seem that the weather is predicted to be thunderstormy. If so, get ready for a lot of Settlers. 🙂

    Also, we would be more than happy to find non-meat alternatives to throw on the barbie for you and Jen, Jeff, but it may make more sense for you to pick what you like best. If you prefer not to do that, let us know what you’d like and we’ll do our best to pick it up from the store.

    We do have stuff for meals around here that everyone would be welcome to use like flour, sugar, spices, etc. too.

  23. Shotts

    Great to see you, Toby and Steph, J. E. and Liz, Peters and Amanda. It was a terrific weekend. Thanks for all your hosting, Beckers, and for letting us enjoy time with Clara. I hope your household is returning somewhat to normal.

    Ned and Sara, we missed you! I hope to see you before long…

    And thanks to everyone, all of you, for the really kind and surprising shower and gifts. That really means a lot, that kind of support and friendship. Thank you!

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