Don't ask, just go and God bless America!
It's a week away from Christmas, so it's kind of tough to get away from it at this point.
Not that I was trying to by going to the VMFA to see "Holiday Inn," the 1942 Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire movie that debuted the Christmas classic "White Christmas." Sure, I'd seen it before, but I hadn't heard WCVE's jazz DJ Peter Solomon talk about Irving Berlin and his music, which sounded pretty interesting to me.
And it was surprising to learn that Berlin couldn't read music and could only play the black keys of the piano (always playing in F#), which would explain his having a secretary write down the music he conceived of...for his entire career and he lived to be 101.
Two hours of Bing singing and Fred dancing would be enough, but when you add in the snappy 40s dialogue, it's a little slice of heaven for a wordy bird like me. A perfect example is the scene where the manager is ordering last-minute flowers from the flower shop girl for the demanding diva.
Her: What would you like?
Him: Orchids, the finest you've got.
Him: No, no. A dozen loose, looking like they don't care.
That line makes perfect sense to me; I only wish I'd thought of it first (and maybe that someone would want to send me carefree-looking flowers).
I decided against staying for the post-film discussion, not that I wouldn't have enjoyed it, but I had a cookie exchange party to go to out in the sticks. Well, the sticks to me anyway; it was over near Tan-A, way out of my comfort zone. And then I got lost and had to call for directions (from a pay phone, no less), making me even later.
But it didn't really matter because there were still plenty of cookies and people left when I arrived, including my smitten couple friend who'd come to make eyes at each other while staring at the fake fire on the TV screen.
This is my second year for this party and once again there was an embarrassment of cookies laid out. Whoopie pies, pistachio/craisin, chocolate with caramel and salt, red velvet crackles, Mexican wedding cookies, shortbread, snickerdoodles and at least a dozen other kinds were spread around the kitchen and living room.
My hosts were serving cider and eggnog, so naturally I went with the more decadent nog, nicely spiked. One guest, who had been unaware that the nog was already fortified, had been helpfully serving it and adding booze at that point. Needless to say, those who got the "double shots" were feeling the effects in no time.
Because my hosts blog and tweet, there were a fair number of the same at the party. One guest told me he followed me on Twitter and I had to correct him (you may read my blog, but I'm not a 140-character kind of girl). A coffee fanatic, he was also incredulous that I don't do coffee or tea. But what pushed him over the edge was my lack of a cell phone.
He could not comprehend how I live without one. "I'm touching mine even as we talk," he said by way of explanation, his hand deep in his pocket. "How DO you communicate?" I don't know, but somehow I manage, I told him. Later he made a big deal about my tights, though, so I forgave him the rest.
It was great fun being with a different crowd than the one I usually hang out with. The merits of the McRib were debated, bad penis jokes were delivered and closet organization skills were surveyed. There was a shirt-folding demonstration. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of laying out sushi on a naked human body rather than a plate at a soiree (coming soon to a party near you).
At one point, a guest brought in gifts of airline bottles of Jose Cuervo, which the recipients decided to do as body shots (something I'm proud to say I've never done). Unfortunately, the host had no limes (although he did have sea salt flakes), but the group made do with Real Lemon juice, you know, the kind in the plastic pseudo-lemon squirter bottle.
So, yes, they licked the expensive salt flakes off their hands, shot their cheap tequila and then squirted lemon juice down their throats ("It doesn't help," one girl exclaimed afterwards). It was mildly disturbing to one who truly appreciates good tequila (which this was not) and, on the other hand, it was some of the best entertainment of the evening. Especially with a Southpark carol playing in the background.
In fact, the party could have been written up much the way Holiday Inn was in the "newspaper blurb " from the movie that began this post.
A & K's Annual Cookie Exchange
Don't ask, just go and Chef bless America