The Dinner (Dec. 2003)

This being the first time I’ve ever lived alone, tonight was the very first party I’ve ever hosted solo. It was a different vibe than the ones Kathleen and I used to host together, because my personality type (and my upbringing) would always preclude me from taking credit for anything. Since Kathleen was known in her family and mine as “Martha Stewart,” I tended to give her credit where I probably should have taken some. Tonight was wonderful for several reasons, but the most personal for me was realizing that I do have a knack for cooking, decorating, and being “hostess with the mostess.” (I love that this year has been about discovering myself, because I find out so much every day.)

I also need to give credit to my friends, who showed up with bottles of wine, candles, and other assorted housewarming presents. It was so thoughtful, and so in character for them, that I couldn’t help but think, “who wouldn’t want to cook for these people?” I made sure they were well taken care of with a pot of spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce and a roasted chicken. I figured whatever we didn’t eat could go in the fridge for soupmaking later. See! Isn’t that Martha of me? 🙂

Reminds me of the time my dad came to pick me up at Crossroads, a gay bookstore in Houston that is now defunct. When he walked in, he just CRACKED UP laughing, and I was sort of afraid to turn around and see what he was laughing at. I looked up, and there on display was a t-shirt that read, “I want to be Martha. The bitch can do everything.” Eventually, I went back and bought it for him. Yes, he wears it. No, he is not gay. He may, however, be slightly metrosexual.

It was so much fun showing my friends what my dad and I did with the place while he was here, but as I predicted earlier, it was Karen who had the most immediate reaction. She was the one who helped me move in, and she was the only one who saw it with only a dresser, a futon, and a few boxes. So the look on her face was priceless. I don’t remember the exact quote, but there was a lot of hugging and a lot of “OH MY GOD!”

This is not to say that Scootter, Ann, and Mary were not impressed. They just didn’t get to see the dramatic improvement that the new furniture brought. But again, there was a lot of hugging and a lot of “WOW! THIS IS SO COOL!”

As we sat down to dinner, I silently thanked my dad. We did such a good job in such a short amount of time while he was here, and I can’t imagine what my house would have looked like had he not stepped in and said, “why don’t I fly up there and we can get it all done at once?” There is another entity that deserves much praise, and that is Goodwill. I was able to make a functional apartment into home for just a few dollars. I got paintings and brass plates and flower boxes and a menorah. I mean, who COULDN’T live without a menorah? 🙂

As we sat down to dinner, the conversation was warm and a lot of fun. I love learning new things about the people around me- and this conversation did not disappoint. In our little group, three people had been to China, two to Viet Nam, all five to Europe, and one was a Fulbright Scholar for a summer.

After dinner, we retired to the living room, where we watched last night’s Christmas episode of The West Wing. Since four of us have been and are residents of the state of Oregon, it was particularly interesting to us since a good bit of it centered around our state’s right to die with dignity initiative.

During the show, I discovered the second hit of the evening: Tootsie Roll Caramel Apple Pops. By the time my guests left, there weren’t any in the basket… because someone, and I’m not sure who, stuffed a bunch in their pocket for the ride home.

Tonight was so much fun, and I couldn’t be more proud.

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