Dragonfly
The current joke around our house is determining when - between now and Christmas Eve - my head is going to explode. Bets are being placed.

Just this past weekend, I alerted my BGF (Best Guy Friend), CBoy, that he should arrive early on Christmas Eve... you know, for the entertainment value.
--- "I mean really," I told him, "come early, have a few drinks, and then watch the fireworks. It'll be a blast. Literally." He laughed. I added, "Of course, you might want to bring one of those plastic rain ponchos. You know, so my brain matter doesn't mess up your nice shirt and all."

Last night, I told my Wahoo (BFF) I really would try to meet up for coffee this week since we won't be getting together until the day after Christmas... but that there was a very real possibility, I might be headless. Or walking around with a bit of a hole upstairs, at least. She, playing Little Miss Optimist, said, "No. You can't talk like that! You're head is Not going to explode. You rock. You know you're all over this thing."

Optimism coming from her at the moment is a God-send. Really. She's had the WORST past few months. Still? I told her, "Oh, no... it's really going to blow. I'm not being pessimistic or anything. Just realistic. And maybe a smidge cynical because, see? If I Expect my head will explode and then it happens? No big deal. And if it doesn't happen? Woo Hoo!! Disaster averted and I can have lots of chocolate!"

So what's with all the exploding heads, you might ask?

This year is my year to host our annual Christmas Eve Dinner. For 17 people. In my little house that has a single table that seats SIX. Did I mention my little house? $*&#^&*% It's days like this I wonder when (if ever) we are going to get our "Real" house built already so I can have celebrations without head explosions on the horizon.

So. Christmas Eve Dinner. Let me explain....

My Daddy usually has the Christmas Eve dinner at his house. He cooks this amazing, mouth-watering, make-you-drool, Standing Rib Roast. It has the most luscious, Oh-Lord-Have-Mercy seared meat crusty crust on it, with drippings au jus that make you surreptitiously lick your plate afterwards. (I'm salivating just writing about it!) With it, are a variety of fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions, and roasted garlic. The rest of the family usually brings a side. But that meat? It is the superstar of the meal. It comes out of the oven screaming, "Look at me! Look at me!" and we all turn into a ravenous paparazzi stalkers, waiting for the moment it hits the table and we can have at it.

And therein lies the problem.

Even in my MOST competitive Neener-Neener-I-Can-So-Beat-You moments (and bless me, friends, I am Seriously Competitive, especially when food is involved) -- I cannot out-do that Roast. Admitting that is like a thousand bee stings to my butt. Really. Hurts.

Combining my not-up-to-Daddy-par roasting skills and my little house, I've had to come up with a menu that will both Wow, Please, and Deliver. And that was the easy part! This year, I'll be serving a buffet of small, yet filling, items:

* Italian Meatball Lollipops and Marinara swirled with Alfredo
* Fried Portobello Mushroom & Italian Cheese Ravioli (utilizing the same marinara)
* Bruschetta with Grilled Tuscan Chicken, Roma Tomatoes, and Buffalo Mozzarella
* Basil-Garlic Green Beans (GypsyRose is bringing these, thank goodness)
* Butternut Squash, pan-roasted with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey
* Lots of Garlic Bread with dipping oil/herbs

Dessert will be a Bread Pudding recipe I've been working on for months now... but have not yet TRIED OUT. It will be made with an Italian Sweet bread, cinnamon bread, crushed Amaretto cookies, dried cherries, almonds, and white chocolate chips.... topped with an Amaretto Creme Anglais. [Dear Lord - I know I have not been a really, really good girl this year but please, please have mercy on my untried bread pudding and make it fabulous!]

We will also have fresh Strawberries with a Cinnamon Whipped Cream and a tray of dark chocolates.

** Deep Breath **

Reasons my head might explode:

** I have been wholly unable to find either fresh pasta sheets OR won ton wrappers for my ravioli. Meaning --- I will be making pasta from scratch! I have never made pasta from scratch! I do not have a pasta maker! (can you feel my panic??)

Me: I can't figure out this pasta recipe. It looks easy enough but it doesn't say how many ravioli it makes!
BabySis: Blah-blah-blah-blathering on about something completely unrelated
Me: Listen to me! This is serious!
BabySis (using a tone): Welllllll, what does the recipe say?
Me: Look, I can read, ya know. It does Not say how many. Ohhh... wait... here's another recipe on the same site that's using the same pasta sheet recipe...
BabySis: Uh huh...
Me: It serves six. But that doesn't tell me how many ravioli per person! This is freakin' ridiculous. I can't do this. And I refuse to buy ravioli. Ugh. I want to MAKE IT.
BabySis: ** laughing **
Me: Stop laughing at me! This is really, really bad! What if I make a ton of pasta sheets and then still run out of ravioli? And if I don't know how many it makes... how can I figure out how many mushrooms I'll need?
BabySis: ** laughing **
Me: That's it. I'm going now. I'm hanging up.
BabySis: Okay. Bye!

(She is SUCH a pain --- You are, sweet girl... you really really are! And I still have no clue how much that flippin' recipe will make or how many lbs of mushrooms I'll need to buy to fill those little suckers. Math is hard!)

** I am not good at determining appetites for other people:
Me: How many meatballs do you think each person will eat?
Mr. Clean: Two
Me: Two?! Seriously? I'm not eating two. After all this work, I'm eating twenty!
Mr. Clean: Two each.
Me: You're just trying to be cheap. You think I'm going to spend $1000 on this party.
Mr. Clean: ** Shrugs & walks off **

Me (calling my BabySis): How many meatballs do you think each person will eat?
BabySis: Oh, at least five.
Me: Five? Okay... Mr. Clean said: Two.
BabySis: Two?! Seriously? I'm not eating two. After having to put up with you for two days while helping you do all that work, I'm eating twenty!
Me: Heh. Thanks a bunch. So... twenty for you, twenty for me... and five for everyone else?
Me: ** clicking on calculator **
Me: Dear Lord, that's SIX pounds of ground beef
BabySis: ** laughing **
Me: Laugh it up dear-heart...
BabySis: I'm sorry! It's funny. You're totally freaking out.
Me: ** silence **
BabySis: ** giggle **
Me: ** click **

** My house.. my little house... is a mess. Well, not a Holy Cow mess but it needs work.

** I have absolutely NO idea what I'm going to do with my overly-dramatic pets. Merlin - the mini-Aussie - has a huge Pet Me! complex. No matter how long you pet that dog, it's never enough.

Merlin: Never. Ever. Because that next round of petting? Even if your hand falls off from all the work? That petting will be the Best! Ever! And I want it. Now. Please?? If I can't have it, I will crawl into your lap and give you my sad eyes. If that doesn't work, I will Poink! Poink! Poink! you with my nose until you Pet! Me!

And then there's the cat. The cat who does not like loud noises or parties. The cat who thinks it's perfectly normal to look adoringly up at people and then, when they reach down to pet her.... she eats their hands right off. Mix the sad-eyed Puss-in-Boots from Shrek with one of those scary-ass creatures on the Sci-Fi channels station identification commercials... and you have Schatzi. And also? She steals food.

What's worse? My sister, GypsyRose, thinks it's FUNNY to growl and her and basically rile her up until she's over the top and completely out of control -- i.e. now HUNTING people on the sly. My Daddy? Not a lick better than Gypsy Rose. He does the Same! Thing! Mr. Clean thinks we should put her in our bedroom for the night. I agree, except then it's always possible she will take out her aggressions on something I adore... so I'll have to do a thorough put-away job in there first.

** In order to pull off this party and have plenty of space for everything... I will have to put up most of the trinket boxes I collect (now gracing the surfaces of coffee table and end tables). I have a LOT of boxes. I cannot put them in my room (see above, regarding the cat) so I'm downright flummoxed on what to do with them.

So you see? Head. Explosion. But I think it might all turn out okay in the end and I am truly excited!! Or that could be the alcohol. You know, whatever works.

That being said, I think - perhaps - it's understandable why I have not added any words to my novel. *grumble-grumble* (and that's really a less-than-poor excuse because last night? I sat on my butt and watched that new Duel show. Uggghghhh.. I should be put down or something -- but hold off until I finish another CranPomtini, m'kay?)

So what are you all doing for Christmas Eve/Day? Anyone else have a hungry horde descending upon your home this year?
3 Responses
  1. katkin Says:

    *drool*


  2. katkin Says:

    Ok. I think I can do this now without slobbering all over the keyboard. We are having Christmas Day dinner with just six this year. Some years my niece Michele is there.......with her eight! Yes Eight! kids! Ages 1 thru 12! Which isn't so bad really as we are always at my sister's house and I can go home. Heh. But our menu is nothing like yours! Do you think anyone would notice if I snuck in at the back of the crowd at your house? I promise to help with the dishes. *grin*


  3. dragonfly Says:

    EIGHT kids? Wow, that is one brave woman. While, it's too bad you couldn't sneak in the back door on Christmas Eve, let me know which recipe you want and I'll happily post it. :)