Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ringin' in My 10th Year in America's Dairyland

Formerly, I judged my entire year based on the general mood one night: New Year's Eve. Have an insanely fun NYE, have a crazy adventurous year. Chill NYE = Chill Year. God forbid you have an all-out crappy New Year's. Fortunately I think I've filed this measurement system in my backlog of superstitions along with holding my breath when passing a graveyard and freaking out on Friday the 13th . I still foresee 2008 witnessing me avoiding walking under ladders and throwing salt over my left shoulder when I spill it. A girl's gotta have something to believe in.

At any rate, my New Year's was definitely the most chill it's been since probably, oh, 10 years ago. How apropos! I actually planned that way so I could launch the blog. I wasn't a PR major for nothing. Kidding, seriously.

A few weeks ago, I decided that 2007 should not end without me hosting at least one "small gathering" at my not-so-new-any-more apartment. A procrastinator at heart, this party occurred on December 31. A "small" gathering it was indeed, with just six people including yours truly. So excited was I on my half day yesterday to play hostess with the mostess, I prepared food for about 60. No worries, I am hosting a "low-key" bachelorette party on Thursday and will be able to repurpose most of the fare into further deliciousness. Regardless, it is always worth spending one's Christmas money on gourmet cheeses. Just having them in the fridge makes me feel all sorts of classy.

Plus, my dear ol' dad, gave me a membership to the Wisconsin Athletic Club for my birthday, so those cheeses are totally fine if I have to devour them myself.

All in all, my menu, even though only lightly nibbled upon (arriving at 9:30, my guests had eaten dinner beforehand-- not I, I'd spent the afternoon and evening cleaning against the clock (or shoving everything else in my bedroom)), was a hit. In addition to the cheese plate (Jarlsburg Swiss, Drunken Goat, Purple Haze (lavender-infused chevre) and New York Sharp Cheddar) served with a combination of gourmet (and not so gourmet--bagel chips look pretty fancy though) crackers, I served chocolate fondue with an assortment of fruits and pound cake; "white" pizza (cream cheese, mozzarella, chicken, artichokes and mushrooms); stuffed mushrooms; and a variety of chips and dip (I busted out my sombrero salsa dish--always a huge hit!).

Music choices consisted of my "Best of 2007" Albums Mix in the dining room and my '60s World Records (Italy! Hawaii! (we had a toast to Don Ho when "Tiny Bubbles" came on) Mexico!) collection in the living room. We switched gears with some Culture Club at midnight.

After ringing in midnight with a moderately-priced champagne toast, and attempting to watch the subdued downtown fireworks on my back porch, some of us headed over to Buckley's for a night cap. I was in bed before the West Coast New Year even happened.

My lameness caused me not to take advantage of two things that make Milwaukee one of the best places to celebrate the New Year: Miller Free Rides and bars not having to close.

But with a minimum of four weddings this year, I don't think 2008 will be lacking in celebration. It's good to start it off with "pacing" in mind.

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