Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

So last night I had four girlfriends over for the evening. My husband rarely travels on business, but he was away last night, so I planned a girls night. I had everything planned out and had the day off, so I was looking forward to attending to every detail leisurely. Until the power went out for five hours due to high winds here. Living on a mountain basically, we lose power every so often, usually for a brief time; no big deal. I had polished all my silver over the weekend - I thought why not, I'll be ahead of the game for the holidays. So at least that was done.

I don't know, I am a bit of a study in contrasts I think. I can happily eat off a paper plate and drink beer out of a bottle, but other times I get all girly and have to pull out the good stuff, and honestly, very little pleases me more than fussing about my house getting ready for guests when I'm in that kind of mood. So I did what I could without electricity, I put new candles in candle sticks and hurricane shades, I set the table, which included a mini pumpkin at everyone's place setting, and God help me, I even had fall colored, maple-leaf shaped shiny confetti that I sprinkled on the table cloth, and topped it with little pumpkin colored votive candles. China, crystal, silverware, linen napkins.... check.

If a man had been around, he might have concurred that either I had bought something ridiculously expensive or he was going to get lucky. I don't really operate like that though. I once went out before we were going to a cocktail party a couple of years ago because I needed pantyhose. I hate pantyhose, but it was winter and I was wearing a black dress..I needed to wear some. So off I go, and I pass a store that has a huge banner announcing it's having a big sale on coats. I thought you know, I should go in there, I could really use a new trench coat. I go in, and I see a bunch of people milling around some roped off area, so of course I have to see what the fuss is about. Huh, a whole section of fur coats on sale. You know what happens next. So I am standing in line waiting to pay for my gorgeous brand new ankle length fur coat, and it occurs to me this might be a shock when i return home. I was, after all, going to buy pantyhose. So I call home and say, listen, just so you're not surprised, I just bought a fur coat. He is not surprised.

Anyway, so mid afternoon yesterday I'm starting to get antsy about the power still being off. I was still in my pajamas because I couldn't blow dry my hair anyway at that point, and I'm beginning to consider that dinner is going to be hot dogs on the grill. The power comes back though, and all is well. By the time my first girlfriend arrived at 6, I had even had time to have a half a glass of wine and relax for a few minutes. We had wine and appetizers in front of a nice fire I had going in the fireplace in the living room, then dinner in the dining room. No shortage of talking, but that's a given when you get five women together.

I am fortunate enough to have some wonderful old sterling silver pieces from my grandmother, her mother, and HER mother. Some of them are engraved with the various ladies monograms. I love that I own a piece of my ancestor's history, and I often wonder about them when I pull out what were once their treasures, to use. I bet they'd be happy that I use them regularly and keep them polished. I was thinking last night as I was hand washing them after everyone left, who's going to take care of them and enjoy them after me? I can't really picture either of my kids polishing antique silver, but I'd sure like to think one of them would love it and take care of it. On that note: use the good stuff.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I went to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Giants stadium at the Meadowlands in New Jersey this past Wednesday. I first saw him in 1986 in St. Louis, Missouri, when I lived there (unfortunately - that I lived in St. Louis- not that I saw him) I was a few months pregnant with my son, who is now 23, and the concert was so long I kept hoping he would stop so I could go home and go to bed, but I was loving the concert so much I didn't consider leaving for a second. Women in their first trimester get pretty sleepy.

Anyway, I have seen Bruce numerous times between then and now, and I always enjoy it. We have gone the past couple of times with some of our oldest and dearest friends, Steve and Patrice. They live on Long Island and we meet up, tailgate in the parking lot and enjoy the concert together. We've gone to several college reunions with them (Steve and Tom were once room mates and graduated together) and a long weekend with our respective kids in Vermont. I think as you get older, you appreciate long time friendships that have stood the test of time.

Usually for these get togethers we run like a finely oiled machine. We have tables, chairs, tablecloths, grills, a vast array of snacks and drinks. This year not so much. Steve and Patrice have had a lot on their plates recently which I will not go into here. I really don't have an excuse of any kind, the date just kind of got here.

It was all good though, and the company is what is most important, of course, it just wasn't what is typical of our tailgating. We had plenty to eat and drink, but not a chair to sit on in the parking lot. It was a chilly evening, in the fifties, but the one thing we did have in abundant supply was outerwear. Patrice brought an entire trunk full of coats, fleeces, sweatshirts, etc. I burst out laughing when I opened the trunk and saw it all. We joked that maybe we could each sit on a pile of jackets.

We had champagne, and I brought along champagne flutes, because the champagne was Veuve Cliquot, and you really shouldn't drink that out of a plastic beer cup. It's just wrong. Beside which, I had a New Year's day brunch a couple of years ago, and I went to William Sonoma to buy champagne flutes, because I certainly didn't have enough for the thirty or forty people we were expecting. They had some on sale for some ridiculous price, like two bucks, so I asked how many they had. They told me 40 so I just bought all of them. So if they got broken, I've got about 38 more at home.

We went on opening night for this leg of them playing the Meadowlands, and there is something magical about seeing Springsteen in his "home" stadium. The powers that be are building a new Giants Stadium, and the existing one will be torn down, and he opened with a song he had written for the occasion called "Wrecking Ball." He ran through the entire Born To Run album, in order, which was great fun.

We had a drink in the parking lot and let some of the traffic clear out and got home around 2 am. It was pretty windy that night, and for a moment during the concert I looked around, the breeze ruffling everyone's hair, the music cranking, and I'm not sure when I've had a better time on a beautiful autumn evening.