Despite the decidedly messy forecast for today, I had plans in place to go to a friend's house for a post-Christmas dinner and then on to a show at the Camel tonight.
But once my stressed-out friend called and cancelled the dinner after driving back from North Carolina in snowy/icy weather so bad that it had burnt out the motor in one side of her windshield wipers, I was faced with a dilemma.
Should I stay or should I go? I decided that she had given me a reason to stay in, a rarity for sure in my life. But what to do?
While I was willing to stay in, I wasn't willing to go it alone, so I e-mailed some nearby friends and asked them if they wanted to do a potluck with me tonight. Bring anything edible, something drinkable and your best get-out-of-the-house attitude.
Four friends were game and we were on. It wasn't tough for me coming up with food because I had tons of leftovers in the fridge from the past two nights. I did some crostini with braised short ribs on top and a pomegranate salad (all made from leftovers).
I pulled out some of my most winning mix tapes, put three on and set the rest nearby for later and I was as ready as I was ever going to be for this get-together.
My friends brought three kinds of cheese and crackers, white chili, ham biscuits, roasted vegetables and artichoke dip; like me, several had just used the remains of their holiday meals (or the dregs of their kitchens, however you want to look at it). I put out an array of Christmas cookies for afterwards and everyone brought way more libations than we could ever hope to drink.
But we were an ambitious bunch. The evening began with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and tales of Christmas Present. Bratty nieces and nephews jacked up on holiday sweets, forgettable presents and endless afternoons with cranky families all came out. Along with more to drink to ease the pain.
Once everyone had had their cathartic moment, we moved on to some party fun of the old-school variety. We played charades using only song titles (I was awful at this, but then a lot of them were popular music, not my strong point), and thanks to a guest with the foresight to bring a large pad, we played Pictionary (using only movie titles this time).
Once everybody was thoroughly lubricated, I had everyone write down five things about themself that they didn't think the rest of us would know. We then each took turns pulling one out of the bowl and all guessing who it might describe. I'm not going to over share here, but I learned some remarkable things about my friends tonight. Remarkably interesting and remarkably scary.
It was a good thing the people who live under me are away for the holiday, because the music kept getting turned up louder every time someone heard a great song (a live acoustic version of "13 Valleys" by Big Country and a cover of "This Charming Man" by Stars both killed) and the voices rose with the amount of spirits consumed. If my house had been a cartoon, it would have been moving side to side with noise and inebriated energy.
Amazingly, nothing on the Christmas tree got broken and only one red wine glass was harmed in the enjoyment of this party. My apartment, however, is looking a bit on the rode hard and hung up wet to dry side. But that's tomorrow's problem.
And for the first time in memory (since I had pneumonia anyway), I didn't leave the house for two straight days. Why, that's practically a Christmas miracle.