Friday, January 3, 2014

This is How You Know You're Getting Old

This Friday, I’m going to tell you a tale about New Year’s Eve 2013.  It’s not quite at blockbuster movie level, but it's definitely more interesting than clipping your toenails.

Let me start by saying that I have followed traditional New Year’s Guidelines for the majority of my legal years (i.e. wear lots of sparkles, see and be seen, and pretend it’s not freezing balls outside).

But this year, no more.  For several reasons:
  1. Derrick’s 17 year old brother is in town.  I’ve done many morally questionable things in my life, but taking my boyfriend’s underage brother to a bar will not be one of them.
  2. Derrick had to be at work at 8 AM the next day.  WTF.
  3. In case you didn’t hear, it’s cold in Chicago.  As in, the high for next Monday is -8.  Take a moment for that to sink in.

    It was actually a balmy 7 degrees on New Year’s Eve, but it was also 6 hours in to a 48 hour snowstorm that sucked from me my will to get dressed up, leave my apartment, and just generally exist.
But just because I wasn’t going to be in skintight glitter didn’t mean that I was taking the holiday lightly. I mean, it’s New Year’s after all.  New beginnings and opportunities and resolutions and eating better and loving God and writing in planners and… America.

So I designated myself chief party planner and I began planning our party for three.  First thing was to do a bit of delegating.  I put Derrick in charge of entertainment and steak, and his brother in charge of manning the sofa.

And I was in charge of everything else.

It took me a little less than 2 hours after work but I made it back through the snow with all of the ingredients for stuffed mushrooms, garlic bread, vodka-icing cupcakes, and a variety of champagne cocktails.

Derrick, Head Gamekeeper, got home 45 minutes later with shrimp, 2 pounds worth of rib-eyes, and the evening’s entertainment.  Unfortunately, the other Gamekeepers in Chicago beat Derrick to the punch (that is, to Walgreens).  So by the time Derrick got there, they didn’t really have much New Year’s stuff left.

So that's how we ended up wearing Mardi Gras beads as I explained to Derrick and his brother the rules of Spoons.  Turns out that they weren’t too impressed with the game (I don’t know what kind of expectations they had for it, really), so they ended up playing Kings in the Corner while I began preparing our feast.

First things first, I started with the cupcakes (priorities).  I haven’t done a whole lot of baking since the infamous Eyelash Scorching Incident of 2011, but what’s a party without some liquor infused icing?

Looking back on it, I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea.  Evidently, Derrick handles vodka pretty much the same way a slug handles salt.

I thought they were delicious but Derrick was not amused.

(On a side note: Derrick agreed that their only flaw was the vodka.  Assuming that you’re not attending a party with people possessing Derrick’s impressive vodka detection, you'll be a hit if you show up with a batch of these suckers.  Stephanie in particular knows her treats.)

My second attempt went over a bit better than the vodka: a Pinterest inspired rock candy cocktails.  What says New Year’s better than blue, crunchy champagne?

And then, of course, there was the food.  All of the glorious, glorious food brimming over my JCPenney dinnerware.

I had finally bit the bullet and bought our little family its first mixing bowl, so I was able to bring some spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms to the table.  I also made some homemade garlic bread and Derrick cooked up some shrimp.

The rib-eyes definitely stole the show though, and this is coming from Oatmeal-For-Every-Meal Nicole.

The night and the year ended with me snuggled up under a blanket with Derrick and feeling unnecessarily nervous as the 30 second countdown to midnight began.  (Am I the only one who gets panicky about countdowns?)

Just after midnight, as we reminisced about the ball we saw drop an hour earlier in NYC, I fulfilled my role as chief event planner with some sappy reflection on how good 2013 was to us.  I harassed Derrick and his brother into naming the best and worst moments of 2013.

It was evidently one hell of a year for all of us in 2013.  Between huge moves and new jobs, it was hard for us to come up with just one moment.  Derrick really stole my heart (again) with his answer for the best thing about 2013: coming to Chicago to be with me.

His worst moment? "Poisoned cupcakes."

Oh well, there’s always next year.

Happy Friday!  It's the second one this week, so live it up.

Linking up with Sarah and Whitney.  Again.  This time, with the best jams of '98.
Because it's the New Year, after all.

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