Sunday, January 01, 2006

Should Old Acquaintance

Our first year of being married we invited another couple over for movies, games, and general cheer. I didn’t really know the couple well, the guy was some acquaintance of J’s who he’d felt sorry for. Apparently the wife had graduated from high school that May and they’d been married that summer. The husband, the chain smoker, and frequent perpetrator of retail theft, had even driven back to Iowa to take her to prom the year before. They would be divorced soon. I don’t need to tell you what scintillating conversationalists they were. We had an upstairs landlady who was a little…high strung. Whatever she was doing upstairs that New Year's was really loud, so we (OK it was J because I wouldn’t do such a thing) hit the ceiling a few times as a kind of “Hey, you’re being loud.” A few seconds later she was at our door screaming at us about hitting the ceiling and how if we ever did that again she’d have us out of that apartment.

The following year Anne’s husband was away in Scotland for the holidays. She came over on New Year's and we beaded a blessing gown and cap for her brand new niece. Let me tell you, there is a reason we pay eight year old Indonesian children to hand bead clothing. It is backbreaking work. At midnight we opened the door according to Scottish tradition, drank something that was not whiskey, remembered Robbie Burns, and planned the next Jacobite rebellion…or something like that.

The year we partied like it was the end of 1999 (because it was) I spent with Anne* at an Official New Year's Party. It was at a History Professor’s home (one who I would eventually come to know in the program.) The house was crawling with academics (just like I like it.) We were dressed for the occasion and the food/company was marvelous. I remember this party for two reasons:
1) We went around the room taking turns to make predictions about the new Millennium. I hit the comedic nadir of my life when I predicted:
a) Trouble in the Balkans-- Let me tell you, nothing is as funny as predicting trouble in the Balkans to a bunch of history professors. (Although, the timing of the emergence of the Middle-Class is also hilarious, hahaha, what fun.)
b) Revolutions in Africa
c) A communist rising to power in South America.

Thank you! Try the veal!

2) I hit a low point in my history of party storytelling when I regaled a few people, who were sharing travel stories, with the tale of my husband peeing off of the Eiffel Tower.
a) Even though I warned the participants that the following story would be “gauche” they listened anyway.
b) I thought it was a hilarious story full of Franco-mocking fun. I ignore the 'warning' eyes Anne is shooting at me.
c) Apparently it was an extremely inappropriate story and they were not amused. They probably still think I’m tacky.

In accordance to the “Real Millennium” debate that Kramer, Jerry, and Newman once held, the following year I held a “Real Millennium” dinner party. This is the dinner party that morphed into a giant. I had invited three couples for a formal dress sit down dinner with seven courses. It turned into a sit down dinner for 24 in my condo. The entire living room was occupied by a horseshoe table into which my guests were sardined. I cried on Joe’s shoulder when I realized that I had to give in and serve the courses buffet style. It turned out to be an amazing affair with perfect food, fantastic conversation, and a great time had by all. This was my zenith in in-home entertaining. We did predictions again. I tried the Balkan joke, again, it didn’t go over (shoulda left on a high note.)

The next year I spent in San Francisco with my sweetie.

I don’t even remember the following year.

Two years ago I had a brand new baby (a week old) and it was just the three of us, at home. J asked me if I wanted to be awakened for midnight and I said with the full fever of sleep deprivation, “Huh? Oh. Uh. No. What?” He poked his head in the room anyway and said, “Happy New Year! I love you!”

Last year we rolled in the door from a cross country visit in Florida with the in-laws. Two hours to spare. We toasted with some Mormon Bubbly (we may have each had our own bottle) and then crashed from the baby-wrangling exhaustion we endured on the plane.

This year we spent over at some friends’ home. I was going to throw a small, relaxed dinner party at home. Then I couldn't be bothered. Instead, we ran the kids ragged, ate lots of simple, yet tasty food, put the kids down, and watched a movie. We toasted at midnight and watched the fireworks out the window. Great conversation, lots of laughs, some laments; a relaxed time.

I thought about how 2005 was an OK year and it would be sad to let it go. Then I remembered some of the hard stuff: my mom’s cancer, laying people off, friend’s parents dying. It was a hard year and I’m not sad to let it go. There were good things, of course: cancer gone, for now, new friends, new chances. However, there are lots of things about the year that I’m happy are now The Past. Onwards and upwards for the coming year, may it be better than the last: more sweetness, more joy, more simplicity, and more love. Oh, and more Balkan jokes.

*At this point in my writing I realize that I have spent more New Year's with Anne than with any other person, including my spouse.


Bek said...

I always love a good balkan joke. Or a pee joke.

Geo said...

The very best academics to have at parties can still laugh at potty humor. I have one of those in my knit group--a professor of Italian--she's fabulous!

Azúcar said...

Curiously, it was not the academics that had issues with the content, it was some young adults who were also in attendance. I haven't told that story since (nor would I have ever, had the excellent food not clouded my judgement of the audience.)

RB- that's because you are sophisticated.

Kiki said...

I'm disappointed in my New Year celebration this year. 1) I've had this stomach thing for the last 4 days. I don't know if it's a virus since the only time I've thrown up was when I wanted a moment's peace. I've just got this dull sensation, and I hate it. 2) I was supposed to go play games with one group of friends, but some other friends came back home, so I wanted to hang with them. I told first group of friends that I was feeling horrible (not a lie), so I could hang out with second group. 3) Second group SUCKED! We spent most of the night WAITING for things to happen. Waiting for this person to get there. Waiting for pizza to get there. Waiting for blah blah blah. Carrie left to buy $100 of fireworks and popped them on the levee. That part was awesome. The waiting sucks. I get so impatient when someone tells me something is going to happen and we WAIT!

~j. said...

Good for you for celebrating INDOORS. Rae & I were walking along 000 N. and 000 S., soaked to the bone. Fun times.

Did El Guille get to see any fireworks? Being only a block away, Clara was absolutely terrified (which is one reason why Darin took her & Em home early).

Azúcar said...

We mentioned how it would be rough to be downtown with all of the rain. I thought you would have gone home. Good for you for sticking it out! I bet Rae had a blast.

No, he didn't. When we put him down at late 9:30 he cried, cried, and cried, then went to sleep. However, last 4th of July he stayed up late and watched the fireworks. He LOVED them. He wasn't scared at all. Being so close to the stadium and I thought they were a little too loud. On the contrary, he assured me, these things are cool.

Bek said...

You guys had fireworks? Do they always do that? We don't ever have them here (do you think it is a fire thing?). This year it has rained for 4 days. We would have been stranded over New Years (for the third year in a row) had we not cut the ski trip short and headed home. They are still stuck b/c of rockslides on the 80!!!

Happy New Year all!

Azúcar said...

It was raining here too! I mean, really, rain on New Years in Utah? The world is topsy-turvy I tell you, topsy-turvy.

This year they did fireworks on the hour every hour until midnight. Even in the rain they looked really cool.

tiff-fay-fay said...

hmm i remember the sardine new years. it was very hot in your apartment and i didn't get any action from going so i was not pleased with it -- although the food was very good as usual. i think you still have some of my silverware. chuck it, i got new stuff for christmas this year because i had so many missing pieces from my other collection.

tiff-fay-fay said...

p.s. i don't mind pompous professors because they can be an endless source of humor unto themselves, but i do mind the 'it was some young adults who were also in attendance'. i hate pompous young people who think they're the 'it' of a century. they end with 'it' alright but it ain't the good kind. (although I love anne so she is excluded from this comment even though she took you there in the first place :))

Azúcar said...

You should know that the offended crew were all Banana Republic employees.

Make sense now?

Anne would totally have laughed, except I think she knew her co-worker audience better than I and was trying to head me off at the pass.

I'm glad you didn't get any action from Crazy Hair. Great party.

Emily said...

If I knew you, I would work it to get to spend next New Year's Eve with you somehow. Each year sounded nice.

Every year I always try to remember what we were doing in years past and the only one I remember was 7 years ago, and that only because we were in London. This year I was sound asleep and woken up by a well-wishing friend (i.e. drunk dialer).

Emmie said...

Your "trouble in the Balkans" triumph lives on - Steve laughed for quite a while when I read it to him.

I, too, would like to spend a New Year's Eve with you. Perhaps next year? And would you make brioche?

By the way, I told Paul I'd seen you, and he said "Say hi to Haagen-Dazs for me!"

Azúcar said...

That is one of the only nick names I've ever, ever had. And your brother gave it to me on account of my maiden name. I love that guy. He's cool. As is Stuvey. He'd of laughed at the pee joke, I just know it.