October 4, 2003.
San Leandro California. It was a warm, pleasant evening. We were feeling fairly
relaxed and casual as most of our preparations were done, just some food left to
get ready. Then people started arriving a half hour before the party was
supposed to begin. What the hell?!? No one shows up early. People only
start arriving an hour after the start time. It was weird and threw us off a bit
as we attempted to give tours of the house and finish getting the food ready at
the same time. It all smoothed out after a bit - the food (and plenty of it) was
out and we had the spiel down for the house tour. Our egos were properly
gratified as everyone ooh'd and aah'd over our decorating skills. At one point,
we came down the stairs to find a low roar of conversation, people packed in the
every room, and warmth filling our new home. Crystal and I have come up with a
formula for a good party and it hasn't failed us yet.
1. Provide plenty
of yummy food, include hot hors d'oeuvres and a tray of exotic cheeses (well,
that's more for us than the guests, but we're known for it now)
2. Invite twice as
many people as you actually want to show up, including people from all of your
different social circles
3. Put good music
on in the background, low enough to be easily talked over, but loud enough to be
heard - jazzy stuff, Cole Porter, 80's New Wave, etc.
That's it. Keep it
simple. We talked, people who met each other at our party talked for hours,
people who'd known each other forever talked. It was a very chatty party. After
midnight, it was officially my birthday. Caramel apple cheesecake was served and
the over 30 crowd gathered in the living room to initiate me in the sacred
mysteries. I had no idea so many of our friends were part of this group. Only a
few people were left in the kitchen to wonder at our secret knowledge and very
The last guests
left around two am and we went to bed around 3 knowing our house and our hearts
had been very thoroughly warmed.
to work for a company that understands the importance of Halloween. Every
department got some money to decorate. 80% of the employees dressed up. At 2pm,
work came to a screeching halt as everyone headed over to the party. I was a bit
disappointed that most people thought my Goldilocks costume made me a French
maid, but I had a great time nonetheless. You know you are at a rocking company
when the room is full of fog machines, strobe lights, creepy statues and
displays, a dance floor, and a kickin' dj. Then there was the food - hmmm...
everything from shrimp cocktails to sushi to caramel apples. The punch confused
me for a bit until I figured out that the floating ice cubes were in fact jello
cubes, liberally spiked. The costume contest was amusing with a wide variety of
ideas ranging from company in-jokes to topical grotesquery (more than one person
dressed as Roy with blood dripping down his neck and a stuff animal tiger on his
back). Anyone not wearing a costume was invited to visit the mask table where
they could create a mask or use face paint to get into the spirit. Yeah baby,
that's my kind of Halloween work day.
After work wasn't
bad either, we switched costumes and went to a Disaster House party. Tons of
lovely alcohol (mmmm... port) and interesting people to see and talk to. A
pirate theme and a liberal household made for costumes quite a bit more risque
than seen earlier in the day. Our leather waist cinches were much admired. We
pumpkin'd shortly after midnight, but left in good spirits and good health -
secure in the feeling of another Halloween profitably spent.