Probably the biggest, most decadent party I attended. Always crowded, the room with the bar bursting at the seams, as we bump and squeeze ourselves through the throng of holiday well-wishers in fine dresses and Christmas sweaters. Hors d’oeuvres of tomato bisque and grilled cheese triangles, jumbo shrimp cocktail, sausages, lollypop lamb chops, stuffed sweet and hot peppers, deviled eggs, duck, stuffed mushrooms, fried green tomatoes, grilled scallops wrapped in bacon, oysters. Main buffet with brisket and short ribs and collard greens and Caesar salad and paella and roasted potatoes and chicken. A dessert and coffee station with crème brulee and other sorts of little cakes. Everyone ate and ate and ate.
The hosts moved effortlessly from room to room, chatting with everyone. Three magazine-worthy Christmas trees made the rooms festive. I shamelessly envied the beauty as I pictured my two trees at home, the one in the rec room still without ornaments. Christmas music danced above the noisy heads of chattering folks.
I stood in the kitchen looking out toward the front door as the evening drew later, noting our hostess smiling and laughing with guests who were leaving. Our smiling host stepped up beside her as she talked, tipsily throwing an arm over her shoulder. She never missed a beat as I saw her reach up to touch his hand – I thought, a silent moment of warmth between them. She continued talking, reaching up again to shove his hand off her shoulder in the most inconspicuous move possible. If the guests noticed it, their expressions never changed.
Party # 2
This was our first holiday gathering/unbirthday for Todd I wrote about here. Not much to add there, so we’ll just move on.
Party # 3
Work brunch whereby all Secret Santas revealed themselves. I carpooled with two of my coworkers, which made the ride less stressful and we had a lovely time. We were greeted with mimosas upon. The room in this historic building was chilly – duly noted for next year’s planned outfit.
And, speaking of outfits, I had washed and pressed a black sweater dress for the occasion and when I went to put it on discovered a small hole in the right sleeve that I swear was not there before it went into the machine. Todd was like, I can fix this. No big deal, right? Yeah, no big deal until I discovered hole #2 in the left sleeve while I was in the restroom hours later. Classy.
So, the food was great, my Secret Santa got me some gifts I truly love and have been using. The recipient of my gifts was, now that it’s been revealed, Veruca’s doctor. So – seeing how daunting and maybe not so daunting, all at the same time? I got her two wine glasses painted like snowmen and two beer glasses with Santa’s suit and belt painted on them. I loved them, and hope she did too.
The venue, as I said, was an old historic site… the entryway had gorgeous stone and wood floors and there was a “tree” in the foyer that was actually a dress form with a red taffeta sleeveless top on it and tree branches falling away from it like a long skirt with ribbon threaded through. It was amazing. Wish I’d gotten a picture.
Aptly named, holiday gathering 2.0. My father-in-law’s birthday and so everyone who missed party #2 made it to this one. We settled on a brunch that was to start an hour after I got home from work last Saturday, but doesn’t everyone show up late anyway and so the actual start time was more like 3.
Scott brought Todd a bottle of Knob Creek Smoked Maple as a belated birthday gift. I think Todd had one dram of it and a few hours later Scott was seated at the dining room table, adjacent to our liquor cart, with my mother-in-law and aunt, my bestie and me. Scott drained that bottle faster than water leaving a bathtub. I watched him with interest, wondering at what point incoherency takes over, and to my astonishment he never seemed to lose it. In fact, no one did. This time.
So I got drafted to work Christmas Eve at the restaurant, due to staff shortage (imagine that). Todd worked too, because the grill chef wasn’t coming either. We were so f***ing busy and I had to keep reminding myself it wasn’t New Years’ Eve, though every time I did I wanted to cry because I already knew I was coming back for that.
We had a large party seated in the largest dining room, the hosts longtime guests. It was lovely to see them again, as I’ve known them since my early twenties and I feel a sense of melancholy as the revelation of their ages washes over me. They are essentially part of our extended restaurant family. The hostess, petite and beautiful, hasn’t aged in these 25 years. The host, always the wine connoisseur, insisted on Burgundies and French wines and I felt his frustration as he speaks so very softly now and is difficult to hear. All in all, it was a great night, nobody flipped out, no trays were dropped, only one person complained about the Christmas music, and we got to celebrate with friends too. B52, anyone?
Anyway. Todd and I spent a luxurious morning in bed opening presents before getting ready to pick up the kids and go to my mom’s for dinner. We arrived about 4, opened gifts, and then started dinner. Todd and I each had a glass of wine from the house pour. And apparently mom decided to bring over two bottles of wine for dinner, and the wine was flowing like water and I forgot my own advice about drinking water. Empty stomach.
We had an eclectic selection of food for dinner – steamed clams in a garlicky broth (my fave), grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon, filet, mashed potatoes, and Andy’s homemade ravioli with mom’s marinara sauce. Still no water. You know where this is going, right?
The three of us (okay, Todd – it was just mom and me) finished off two bottles of red wine and I spent half the night crying like my grandmother does every time she sees us, because Opac asked me if he could go to the Eagles/Dallas game on New Years’ Eve with friends and he’s growing up and I’m conflicted because there are no adults going and I’m scared to death of losing my kid in some freak accident. And then I cried because V is looking beautiful and grown up and soon she’ll be seeking more freedom of her own and what is THAT going to look like from a T1D perspective? And I cried about other things I’ve now forgotten about, but it doesn’t matter. It’s hereditary and there’s not much I can do about it.
The drive home was reasonable until we got within 2 miles of the house, when I suddenly had an uncontrollable need for fresh air and so opened the window and allowed the arctic blast inside and everybody in the car yelled at me including Todd. Anyway, I had a nasty headache and queasy stomach most of the next day from the wine and NO WATER… that lasted all day.
So remember people – Tara drank too much wine. Tara didn’t drink any water. Tara was stupid. Don’t be like Tara.