Checking In …


I realize I’ve been silent for quite a few weeks, so here’s a brief update:

I took several days back in June to fly down to Connecticut to visit some family members on my late dad’s side of the family. One of my male cousins and his wife were organizing this enormous 21st birthday party for their (step)daughter.

Truth be told, there really wasn’t any sightseeing on this trip – it was mainly trips to the stores for food, party supplies, and last-minute party clothing shopping. But I wasn’t too fussed about that. I decided to make myself useful in helping with party preps. And believe you me, this party needed as many hands on deck as it could get.

And — if the number of people who came to the party throughout the evening was an indication – the event turned out pretty well. (The cleanup the day after? Well … it was a dirty job, but someone had to do it.)

I also got to meet some cousins I’d never met before. I’m hoping to make another state-side visit to see of them in the fall. Fingers crossed! That would be a lovely long weekend, I think.

But surely that can’t be all? Well, I haven’t done anything fun travel-wise since then. But maybe I can rectify that next year.

If you’re wondering about my genealogical searching, I’ll explain that in the next post. Stay tuned.

Grilled Cheese? Yes, Please!

cheesevictoryAt a birthday party over a month ago, a friend and I were talking, and somehow we veered on to the subject of cheese.

Grilled cheese sandwiches, to be exact.

About six minutes later, a funny conversation morphed into a fun idea for a theme party.

And last weekend, my friend threw a grilled cheese sandwich party for his birthday.


To clarify: I am NOT professing to be the first person to ever think this up. CBC Radio 2 held its Grilled Cheese Invitational last Friday, the day before our party, but I had no prior knowledge of it until someone mentioned it to me at the party.  

I’ve also learned that said event was based on/inspired by the original Grilled Cheese Invitational created in Los Angeles six years ago. 

Big disclaimer/acknowledgment aside, this was probably one of THE tastiest party ideas ever.

We were well-stocked with more than enough breads, cheeses, two kinds of butter (plain or garlic) and other “go-with” ingredients to make the magic happen, as well as the crucial tools to bring all these things together …

Two George Foreman sandwich grills.

Oh, but YES.

As a bit of a grilled cheese purist (if you don’t count grilled cheese bagel sandwiches), I loved the party ’cause I got to try different combinations …

Like grilled cheese, marblelized with maple syrup, and sweet, carmelized pear.

Or brie and Nutella. Yes.  Together. (Don’t judge me.)

There are probably only two, if any downsides to this:

(1) If you’re lactose-intolerant or don’t eat dairy, you wouldn’t be at this party. And you’d hate us. And we can’t spread the ooey-gooey love to people who can’t appreciate.

(2) If you don’t come with a big appetite, the novelty of filling one’s  insides with cheese could wear off. But maybe it’s just a matter of pacing yourself … or learning some special technique to stretch your tummy.

But really, I highly recommend trying this at least once.

And if someone were to do this again in future, I’d only have one question:

“What time should I be there?”

Viva la queso!

What’s Up With December 6th?

At a dinner party a couple weeks ago, I was conversing with a friend and new acquaintance, when my friend piped up,

“WHAT is the deal with December 6th?”

She asked, because she had not one, but THREE Christmas parties to attend.

I’m actually wondering about that myself, because (tonight) I have two parties to go to. (Mind you, only one is Christmas-related, but a party is a party.) And I’ve had to turn down two gracious invitations for other events …

Which leads me to the question: just what IS the deal with December 6th? Why does it seem like everyone and their dog is holding a party of some sort on THIS particular date?

I mean, if you think about it, you really have two other weekends you could feasibly have shindigs, before other commitments and obligations take over in preparation for the holiday period.

I even did an impromptu search online, but I couldn’t find anything to support my theory.

Maybe it’s all just one big, crazy coincidence.

But if anyone knows for a fact whether December 6th declaratively marks the beginning of the Christmas party season, lemme know. I’m curious.

D’s Grand Holiday Tally

So Christmas Eve is upon us once again. Man – who knew?

Some of my friends have already started the festivities early with dinner and gift exchanges, and others like myself will wait until tomorrow.

I think I managed to survive the pre-season leading up to the big event, but just barely (as is my normal fashion).

Here, for the last time, is a recap of the last three weeks, by the numbers:

22: number of Christmas cards successfully written and mailed

5: number of presents bought (as of 9 a.m. this morning)

(somewhere around) $100: approximate amount of money spent on alcohol

7: number of parties attended

5: number of those parties being Christmas-related

1: number of times ill and hungover as a result of said parties

1: number of backsides I’ve grabbed, on behalf of other people, in the name of Christmas

1: number of times I’ve been bitten on my face by one of my drunk friends (luckily, no broken skin)

$97: amount of money spent on cab rides home from aforementioned parties.

And just think – this is probably the warm-up for New Year’s  … eeesh.

I’ll probably be around somewhere on the World Wide Interweb over the next couple of days.

But if I don’t talk to you before then, happy holidays, everybody! Eat lots of t(of)urkey and get lots of sleep!

Shoes On? Or Off? The Party Etiquette Debate. (Kind Of.)

What’s Christmas party season without an etiquette-related post? 

So as I was rousing myself into consciousness late yesterday morning, I was listening to CBC Radio’s show GO!

In one segment, they sent comedienne Sabrina Jalees out on the street to find out from people how they felt about going to parties where the host or hostess might ask them to take their shoes off.

Perhaps I’m just crazy or not “cool”, but I was a bit surprised how many people say they keep their shoes on.

There were people in the other camp, who do take their shoes off. But for some reason, they didn’t seem as large a number.

Coming from a household where you pretty much take your shoes off when you step inside the door – and, I guess, I’ve just been used to taking off my shoes at other people’s houses – it’s kinda weird for me not to do.

Although I find as I get older and go to parties and various functions held by different people, I’ve adopted a bit of a modified strategy:

I assess the situation. If I go to a house party, only the floors of the house are concrete, or whatever – and everyone else is wearing shoes, then I would consider keeping them on.

But in a house with carpet (that’s probably going to be hard to clean after everyone’s left)? Shoes off. Although I’m still more likely at a house party to doff the shoes – old habits die hard. I just make sure the socks I wear don’t have holes in them 🙂 .

So how do you handle the shoe etiquette at parties?  Just curious.

D’s Holiday Tally, Take Two

This one’s in honour of my friend who just returned from a week in the balmy Dominican Republic to the cold North American misery we’re dealing with right now.

Here’s what happened last week in my Christmas-season-related life, in numbers: 

16: number of Christmas cards written and mailed (yours is in the mail)

2: number of Christmas cards already received

0: number of presents bought

1: number of possible ideas for family-related gifts

$51: approximate amount of money spent on alcohol

3: number of parties attended

1: number of those parties being Christmas-related

1: number of times ill and hungover as a result of said parties

1: number of backsides I’ve grabbed, on behalf of other people, in the name of Christmas

$77: amount of money spent on cab fare home from aforementioned parties.

And I’m just getting warmed up for this week’s onslaught, which starts later on today.

Hoo boy. That’s scary.