Deconstructing The Party That, For Most Of Our Guests, Wasn’t

I.  Things for the party began to fall apart a few days before Friday.  It was small things at first.  

Zen-Den got food poisoning, a rarity, and took to bed for 32 hours.  He felt horrible, but eventually rallied.  His illness was unexpected, but no reason to cancel a party.

[Poor guy.]     

Then I had ridiculous problems placing the “customizable” deli sandwich tray order.  We had received a brochure in the mail that told us what was available and at what price.  Well, when I went in to place the order, turned out that for the deli, the word “customizable” meant me choosing between turkey or chicken salad on rolls of the deli’s choosing.  

[Say what?]

And then at the bakery the man told me that I couldn’t have the Santa Claus face, made of cupcakes, that had been such a hit at last year’s party.  He told me that the woman who decorated them no longer worked there, so wouldn’t I like a boring red + white candy cane cupcake cake instead?

[Hell no!]

II.  So on Thursday morning before the party, having survived the aforementioned small debacles, I thought we were in great shape.  House decorated.  Bathrooms cleaned.  Food ordered &/or purchased.  Pretty paper plates + napkins.  Booze aplenty.  Wine glasses washed and ready to go.  Coolers for the beer and soda on the porch.  Gifts wrapped.  Outside decorated.  Guest bedrooms ready for our overnight guests.

I was ready for 54 friends and acquaintances.  Let the party begin.

III.  What happened after Thursday morning is blurry.

First, early in the afternoon some out-of-state guests started calling because the airlines had cancelled their flights due to bad weather heading our way;  these guests wouldn’t be coming to the party.

However, other out-of-state guests’ flights made it here Thursday afternoon/evening– and, as planned, those guests came to stay with us here at the house.

Then, guests who were in-state, but driving long distances, began to phone to cancel because of the bad weather that was heading our way on Friday.

While I knew that we’d miss those faraway guests, that reason alone wasn’t enough to cancel the party for all the local people.  They could still get through, right?

IV.  Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Friday morning we awakened to streets covered in sheets of ice and a winter snow storm headed our way.  The entire region had closed down, anticipating what turned out to be, by mid-afternoon, a Level 2 Snow Emergency with record amounts of snowfall.

How much snow, you ask?  A mere 6.5″!  Yep, that’s enough to stop everything around here.

So Zen-Den & I did the only thing that we could, we cancelled the party.  And spent the day with our house guests– goofing off.  Then at 6:00 p.m. we had THE PARTY with them and two of our guests who happened to be neighbors who were able to walk over to the house.

Where, I have to say, considering how much we six adults ate and drank, a good time was had by all!  😉

Musings While Looking At 7 Pounds Of Cream Cheese

::  As some of you know, in a few days is THE PARTY.  At last count we have 54 guests coming to our not-so-little fiesta.  Early on, this open-house business holiday party was a small little gathering.  Not any more.

Now it is a big party… which, of course, brings me to the topic of this post: cream cheese.

Did you know that 7 pounds of cream cheese = 11,200 calories?

::  I didn’t grow up around cream cheese.  My dad liked it, but my mother hated all things cheesy, so not much cream cheese made it into our house.

It was only after I was out on my own, living in Philadelphia, that I became aware of how DARNED GOOD cream cheese can be– especially on freshly baked bagels.

Did you know that 7 pounds of cream cheese is 5″ high x 9.5″ wide x 5.5″ deep?

::  But even here in a midwest suburb, far away from those east coast bagels, cream cheese is a wonder.  And, come to find out, it is the basis of ALL PARTY DIPS.  Yes, this wondrous substance appeals to young [college interns] and old [retired former co-workers] alike.  It’s the yum that binds a party together.  

Did you know that 7 pounds of cream cheese will allow me to make 9 recipes of dip (3 recipes x 3)?

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Skyline Chili Dip

Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip

::  And it is on this last note that I find myself dawdling here today.  While I know that there is NOTHING DIFFICULT about putting together these dips, I am in awe of the amount of cream cheese that I need to make the dips happen.  Looking at the cream cheese piled up in our refrigerator I see a monument– and it reminds me that a house party this large might be a one and only lifetime experience for me.

I mean, 54 guests?  What the heck were we thinking?!!   

Turkeys Before Trees: In Theory, A Good Idea

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I hesitate to even bring this topic up because…

Someone, somewhere is going to read what I’m going to say here– and that somewhere someone is going to start judging me.  I just know it.

However, a bit of negative energy directed my way is not going to stop me from sharing with you, my gentle readers, the fact that:

Our home is already decorated for Christmas. 

Christmas tree clip art
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I know that it’s early.  In fact, I think that the #turkeysbeforetrees idea is a good one.  Timely.  Putting the emphasis on what is important.  But here’s the thing, and there’s always a thing when it comes to Christmas, we are having a large house party the first weekend in December.

How large you ask?  Well, at last count, 50 people have RSVPed “yes.”  And this means, in practical terms, that the sooner we get the house decorated and organized, the sooner we can start fussing around with the food and drink.

So despite being a person who doesn’t like the idea of forcing Christmas, this year I am a person who, for once, is ahead of the curve on this Christmas thing.

I justify this by remembering three things:

  1. the more organized I am about this party, the calmer I will be prior to it;
  2. the calmer I am prior to it, the better the food and drink will be during it;  &
  3. the better the food and drink are during the party, the happier our guests will be.

And who among you, I ask, doesn’t want happy guests at his or her party?  Hmmm?  ‘Nuff said.

The Poinsettia On The Kitchen Table


::  Some of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know that this poinsettia came into our home the weekend after Thanksgiving Day 2011.  It has lived, bloomed, grown while sitting on our kitchen table ever since.

This is unprecedented for me.  Never once has a poinsettia, entrusted to my care, lived more than a couple of months after it came into our house.

Yet this wonderful plant has shown me that with the right amount of indifference and the right amount of sunlight, a poinsettia can thrive, at least for a year or so, in our home.

Truly this is a case of… who knew?

::  I was staring at this plant the other morning as I sat at the kitchen table and drank a mug of coffee.  Bay windows surround the table on one side so I had the choice of looking outside into the grayness or looking inside at this colorful, drooping poinsettia.

I went with the colorful alternative.  I mean… who wouldn’t?

::  According to a fast bit of research on the topic, a poinsettia can live for years inside someone’s home.  I like knowing this, but doubt that this will be the case with our poinsettia on the kitchen table.  It is beginning to look frazzled and worn out.

I’m not going to do anything in particular to encourage it to keep on growing, but at the same time I’m not going to withhold water and sunlight from it.  I’m just going to let it go through its process of aging gracefully.

This plant’s sense of purpose has charmed me.  All plants are like this, of course;  but seeing the process unfold in slow motion in front of me each day for well over a year, reminds me that we need to define ourselves as we see fit.

Do your own thing, says our poinsettia on the kitchen table.  And all that I think is… why not?

A Late December Morning: The Definition Of Bleakness

There is no sunlight here this morning.  And I doubt that there will be any sunlight during the whole day.  That’s the way it works around here in the winter.

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It is one of those gray winter mornings that people who leave this part of Ohio, never to return, always mention to me as a deciding variable.  They hated the oppressive gloom of cold gray days, so they moved on to places that are sunnier or are decidedly wintry.

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None of this half-assed depressing weather for them.

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I don’t blame them, you know?  It is difficult to live here when all you see for days– or for weeks– or, during some horrible years, for months– is an endless amount of bleakness.

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I don’t know how those of us who stay here survive it, but we do.  Maybe it has something to do with enjoying the color that we create in our homes.  Or maybe it has something to do with being accustomed to this sort of winter;  we’ve become desensitized to the gloom.  Either way, we stay.

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This is a photo of our backyard taken later in the day.  

During the afternoon we got a little bit of not-so-pretty snow which has made everything slushy & even more bleak.     


I didn’t think that this day could get any more dreary, but clearly I was wrong.

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