Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Countess and The Absinthe

A complete day, yesterday. It was nothing if it was not complete. I savored the moment filled with insanity. Let me explain.

My young son has a friend visiting from New York. He moved back many years ago, but the two boys who went to pre-school together remain friends.

We made waffles in the morning. Lots and lots of waffles. And no sooner was breakfast complete that lunch began. I made the mistake to ask what they wanted. Another boy had joined them. BLT's came the answer. I ran to the market and picked up perfect sourdough bread. I feel I bit like the Kitchen Witch as I write this blog. Her blog always makes me laugh, while my mouth waters.

I fried up more bacon than I have ever fried. I cut up the tomatoes, and sliced the bread. I washed the lettuce and then ran out of the house.

You see, I had a dinner to prepare. I was entertaining last night. The table was set with the nice silver and Mom's black and white Wedgwood china. I used my grandparent's silver.

The Countess and her friend from London were coming over for dinner. I had never met either one of them. My friend from Los Angeles was driving up and on his way to my house. These were his friends. Well, one of them was. The Countess was his friend's friends. I have learned not to ask too many questions. So bare with me.

I dropped the 13-year-olds off at the movie and finally came home to prepare dinner. I had marinated chicken in all sorts of herbs, prunes and olives. I was going to make asparagus with a salad, and of course some couscous. It's not a difficult meal, but then there is cheese to buy and crackers, loaves of french bread and some kind of desert. It had to be chocolate and decadent. My friend from LA loves chocolate, lives for it actually.

As soon as I entered my home my cell phone signaled me. Kyle was texting to tell me to let him know when I was at his school. Wait, he was getting a ride home today. "No," he texted. His friend ended up blowing him off and I had to collect him. His school is about 20 minutes away from exactly the same direction from which I came after dropping the 13-year-olds at their movie.

So back on the freeway. Back to school. I collected Kyle. On my way up there, my friend from LA gave me a call. "I'm close by. What do I need to pick up for dinner?"

I told him I had everything covered. "She's a vegetarian," he said. "My friend who is joining us doesn't eat meat."

I screamed into the phone, "But does she eat chicken. Find out if she eats chicken." I panicked a bit. I had so much to do. So much.

I arrived at the movie theater too early. So Kyle and I ran into H&M and took a quick stroll around the clothing store. We had a little time before the kids would be out of the theater. He found some clothes for the grand total of $28.00. I love this store. Then the phone call. "She eats chicken!" Thank goodness.

Then we collected the boys and raced home. I found my LA friend inside the house, sweating more than I had seen him sweat in a long time. He had just finished cleaning all our windows. And we have lots of windows.

He insisted on buying flowers and more paper towels. The message was clear. My friend wanted the house to look nice, really nice. He had cleaned off our dock and washed the windows. He looked in the fridge to make sure the dinner looked satisfactory.

Then I knew I had to get into hight gear. I cooked and cleaned and finally got in a quick shower. The guests had arrived. Charming ladies.

We had a great time and my dinner worked just fine! By the time my husband cracked open the Absinthe everyone had gone a bit mad.

I was so proud of the 13-year-olds, they stayed entertained by the evening the entire night. They were part of the party. To me the very heart. And my new friends included them graciously and lovingly. Conspirators and friends.

By the time the guests left, the ones were not staying at my house, it was quite late. Will's friend was spending the night as was my friend from LA. Tom and I finally crawled into bed. It was late. I was tired. But then, one by one, each member of the household found their way into our room. They sat on the bed and we told jokes and laughed. My friend from LA thought it appropriate that we break into a rendition of "My Favorite Things," from the Sound of Music.

It felt complete in a way nothing has felt fully complete in such a long time. I even sang. I can't carry a tune but I had to sing, "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..."

When I closed my eyes to fall asleep I felt at peace. Peaceful until my dear husband began to snore. I listened to his snores for over an hour.

The night felt right in the strangest of ways. A way I think all the kids will always remember. A Countess, a lovely new friend from Dorset, my old, dear friend from LA, all sitting around my dining room table. And then there were the 13-year-olds, eagerly engaged and having a blast.

Will's friend insisted we listen to the "PINK MARTINIS."

Complete. I like complete.


  1. Fun, fun, fun!! My favorite part is the singing of My Favorite Things while everyone gathered around your bed. I adore impromptu, wonderful things like that. I believe it's why you have to be flexible in life and not worry about being judged. (esp by your singing voice...) :)

    I also cherish being surrounded by fun people and old friends. What a wonderful gift that day was for you and good for you, for writing it down so it does not evaporate into the chaos of today and tomorrow and the next day.

    Smiling with you...


  2. I love days like that when I seem to handle everything that is thrown at me with grace and dignity -- and everyone is happy.

    And anytime you want to sing the entire soundtrack from Sound of Music, I will do that with you. Edelweiss is my personal fave.

  3. Yaaay I made this is good because now I can change it on the blog...I will think about my purse post..and call it the purse post maybe...Lol..!!

  4. Terry, have you ever seen The Real Housewives of New York? I've only seen it a handful of times, but one of the characters on it is some sort of countess - so of course I pictured her as one of the guests at your dinner party.

    Glad you pulled it off with such panache - and had fun while doing it!

  5. Complete is a very important and special feeling. Was it Steve B. visiting? wishing us all many more complete moments.

  6. Terry, I love that your friend from LA was washing your windows when you got home! That would totally happen to me because I never wash mine. They're really high up! And you have a dock! You must have a lovely view out of your now-clean windows!

    I'm glad the kids were an asset to your party. That's a testament to you.

  7. I must know. What decadent chocolate did you choose for dessert?? Sounds like a wonderful day, from the H&M bargains to the cleaned-for-you windows, to the bedtime singalong. Now I'm off to hum some Sound of Music myself ... bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ... =>

  8. Your blog doesn't seem to like me. My comments only show up about half the time. :(

    I love how your posts always contain wonderful descriptions of food seeamlessly woven into the story. I plan to make some variation of your dinner party dinner this week. The chicken sounds delicious! Who ever heard of a vegetarian that eats chicken? That cracks me up!