Sunday, February 18, 2007

getting funky with the grown-ups

We are having a party next weekend. It's been such a long time since I hosted a party, that I wasn't even sure where to begin anymore (well other than the obvious scouring of the toilet). So I bought these sassy cocktail napkins (pictured left) and they have formed the basis of my approach and my attitude toward the upcoming social event of the year. If I could have found ones that said "life is too short to clean the house for you people" I would have been all set, but alas, I'm afraid there is no getting out of that. So we've been spending the weekend cleaning the house like fiends and running around buying stuff that we don't normally buy.

I am, despite what it sounds like, really looking forward to this. The dead of winter is a great time to have a party. You don't have to worry about the house being too clean, if you just keep the lights low, and the curtains are all closed so the windows can be as scuzzy as they want to be. And with everybody inside with the windows shut, you don't have to be too conscious about bugging the neighbours either (although some of them are invited).

I used to have a lot of parties in university, but somehow the whole clean house thing didn't seem so onerous then. Either I was less of a slob then, the people I lived with were less slobby than my family, or I had a better perspective on cleaniness vs spontaneity. Damn you to hell, Martha Stewart and your evil minions!

And as a young mother, I hosted a lot of birthday parties. These were a tonne of work, but holy shit they were rewarding. My friend Brook and I both had Eva's who were the same age (we met after the kids were born - we're not that lame), and we used to help each other host the most spectacular bashes with games and treasure hunts and kick-ass birthday cakes that we made ourselves. I guess I had way too much time on my hands back then.

For this party, I was really chuffed to discover that the old computer speakers, which I hauled out of the basement, work with my laptop, so I am using that as my sound system. I made up a party playlist yesterday and although I tried to keep it down to songs that I really want to hear which are completely party-worthy, the playlist is still 7 1/2 hours long. I hope to hell the party doesn't last that long! Actually after 6 hours, I plan to switch to another playlist which I will make up today - a "go home, you are getting sleepy" playlist - very soporific. And if that doesn't work, I'll put on Sonic Youth full blast, get changed into my pyjamas, and come down the stairs, brushing my teeth.

Toccata was curious about what sort of songs would be on the "go home already" playlist. They would certainly be something slow and reflective, perhaps a touch melancholy, something like the following songs. Although personally, I find these songs too beautiful to ever entice me to leave.

Left and Leaving [mp3] - the Weakerthans
Various Stages [mp3] - Great Lake Swimmers


Toccata said...

Those are great cocktail napkins.
I want to see which songs you pick for the "Get the heck out of here" list! I think a person could have a lot of fun making that one.

Allison said...

Barb, you crack me up. Strategically timing the playlist so the guests will get that sleepy-time-to-go-home feel. Pure evil genius. There is something very cozy about a winter party, opposed to the summer, you're right.

My Mom used to throw some kick-ass birthday parties when I was younger and I still remember some of the smallest details. But the cakes were always the highlight. I had a smurf cake once. I made sure it was photographed at every angle before we ate it. I was three. Demanding little tot.

Those cocktail napkins are very chic. I hope all the cleaning pays off :)

mellowlee said...

I could just imagine you doing that...coming down stairs in your pjs, brushing your teeth. That so cracked me up. Heehee :O) I hope the cleanin is going ok. Im doing some cleaning of my own. I just lost 200 lbs of ugly fat and feeling much better ;O) You're such a great mom. My favorite bday as a kid was the one my mom made mexican food, which was my favorite. The adults got margaritas!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Your wish is my very command, Toccata. I did an update addressing that very question. I have a feeling that playlist is going to end up rather long as well.

The cleaning always pays off, Allison, as the only time we have a clean house is when we are expecting company. And I love having a clean house, just not enough to actually do anything about it.
I'll let you know if my party's over strategy worked (although chances are we won't need it as we are all less young than we used to be).
Kids birthday cakes are really fun to make. I've made Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, Dot from the Animaniacs, and a bunch that I can't remember. And then Eva discovered ice cream cake.

Do you think people would get the hint if I did the pjs and toohbrush thing?
You just completed the very best kind of cleaning, Mel. "200 lbs of ugly fat" begone!
Margaritas and mexican food sounds pretty fine to me right about now!

Barbara said...

I like the playlist change up for leaving.. you must have put more work into making playlists then most people put into working...

I don't know how you do and have time to clean...

Mellowlee glad to hear you got rid of that...

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

make sure it's early sonic youth. :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh no, Barbara W, playlists are dead easy. Just click and drag - I want that song and that song and that song and the next thing you know, you have several hours worth of songs.
As for the cleaning, that's why we started a week early.

Absolutely, 668 - full impact feedback.

fineartist said...

My dad used to say, "I'll just be going to bed now so you fine people can get yourselves home." Of course when I was thirteen he used to get me to drive him and his drunk friends to Sambos at two in the morning for breakfast too, where he would grab a coffee pot and serve the other customers coffee. Oh the trauma...

I think The Parties Over would be a great song to play at closing time. Heh.

I hate feeling like I'm trapped in my own home with kling on guests, beam me up Scotty.

Dale said...

I plan my playlists and a few weeks ago, it worked so perfectly that as I shut the door behind my friends, the last note of the last note played. Fluky good timing.

I always stick in a song or two that sounds totally crazy during the one second lull when everyone has stopped talking and eyebrows go up all over the place. I hope it's a lot of fun. Sure sounds like it will be.

She's Crafty said...

I can't wait to host a cocktail party...sounds so glamorous and such fun to have great company.

On the napkins: my sister bought my mom ones that where similar for christmas that said "ALL SHE WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS WAS A NAP!"

Much kinder to have the music set the "okay really go home already" mood that the bloody bright lights on at the club!

Smurf cake...Allison, I love it!

You might find it funny that I am sending this message with freshly painted hot pink nails and toes with a hydroxy mask on my face. The things I do to look fabulous, lol!

vwbuglover said...


vwbuglover said...

Next weekend eh!
And don't forgot those plastic glasses,...oh maybe not,...I hate drinking out of plastic or styrofoam containers.
The challenge will be defeating the "evil" last playlist.
I love challenges!

Deb said...

If your homeward bound playlist fails, here are a few more suggestions from my I tunes...

I Won’t Stay (Holly Mc)
Tones of Home (Blind Melon)
Go (Pearl Jam)

And the napkins are fabulous. I hope you have a really great time Barb.

Toccata said...

Those songs are far too beautiful to get anyone to leave. Me being bad was thinking on the lines of. Olivia Newton John, James Blunt and well you get the point.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hey Fineartist, yikes, that's quite the tale. I like the "I'm going to bed" part, but having to drive dad out for breakfast, that must have been tough.
Party's Over is a good suggestion, as is the Leonard Cohen song "Closing Time" actually.

It would be totally more fun if you could join us, Dale, and not only because you know how to plan a party down to the final second. Oh yes, I agree you always need a couple of songs that make your guests think WTF.

I'm not sure how glamorous this will actually end up being, Serah, but I'm hoping to emmulate that woman on the cocktail napkin. I love the napkins that your mom got too.
I'm sure you are going to look fab with the pink nailage.

Does this mean you are showing up for the party, Bruno? Because you DO owe us a visit and you are in possession of some airline tickets. We would offer real glass glasses and you could see if you can defeat the final playlist.

Yeah I guess maybe some songs that are a little more direct couldn't hurt, Deb. Or turning the tunes off altogether.
Those napkins make me feel all glamorous.

You ARE evil, Toccata. Brava! Olivia Newton John and James Blunt (the quivering banshee as Allison calls him) would certainly have me hightailing it out of there.

John Mutford said...

Now I want to have a party just to come downstairs brushing my teeth- friggin hilarious.

Those napkins made me think of a very old (1950 I think) song by Eileen Barton, "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd Have Baked A Cake". Oh how times have changed (for the better I would think).

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i just remembered at one of my retail jobs, the last song we would play was closing time by leonard cohen.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I may just have to pull that stunt at 10:00, John, just to ensure that it happens.
Times sure have changed! Who bakes cake anymore, besides Safeway, I mean?

haha somebody at that place had a sense of humour, 668!

Kellee said...

Hey Barbarella! I am (once again) on the mend. Hi to the family - I've missed ya!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Kellee.

Gledwood said...

Hi I see your turning away picture at Debs's quite frequently... you surely know my name if you don't know me ... my friend is doing a sponsored comments thing for cancer care charity on her blog. If she gets 100 comments then £50 goes to charity. Would you be willing to help. ALL you need do is post a comment, nothing else is asked. the url is:

Maureen said...

Ah the grown up party. I'll be hosting a house full of kids this weekend and it's not even a birthday party - I'm a sucker, haha.

Songs for leaving, the only one I know that always works is Skid Row "Get the Fuck Out", trust me.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi gledwood, welcome! Of course, I'd be happy to help. Maybe some of my other friends would like to comment on her blog as well.

"Get the Fuck Out" - yeah I would say the message in that song is pretty clear, Maureen. Thanks for the tip. Hey you might need to use that yourself for your housefull of kids.

Will said...

I am sure it will be a lovely time. Even though it is quite a bit of work (as you say) I enjoy hosting a party, too. Although I do like to keep the group somewhat small. That way people can actually talk to one-another. Have fun!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I generally like to keep the gatherings small as well, Will, but this one is going to be one of the largest-ass parties I have ever thrown.

I'm pretty excited about it actually - you should hear my playlist!

WolfHeart RavenHorse said...

Well, you do know that each Martha has a rating sheet and we will be doing the white glove test throughout the house! lol I can't wait for this party!!!! It's going to be a hoot! I will be sure to bring my James Blunt cd and we can dance all night to that! lol hehehehehe

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You know the rules, Bev - no quavering banshees allowed! As for the white glove test, if we can make it a grey one, we are on.