Sunday, December 18, 2011

of muppets and nog

yesterday i was beginning to wonder if it was even worth having a muppets and nog party this year. jack and natalie had moved to north carolina and becky and brady now lived in seattle. not only did that remove two of the key and founding members of the great tradition, that also took out four people over all. and there were at least four other people who were unable to come because i had scheduled my party on the same night as everyone else's family's Christmas party (and two others were home sick). in short, it was looking like there would be six people at my once-grand muppets and nog party. and most of those people didn't even know each other.

the party this year was held at em's house, because she has been reading about the them on here for years and, knowing that i don't have a permanent place in utah, as well as wanting to be a part of the legendary gala, offered her house back before i even knew if i would be in town or not.

true to form, em was a fantastic host. her house looked beautiful: decorations were tastefully trimmed around the rooms, there was Christmas music in the background, and the table was set out with snacks, chocolates, and gingerbread men (they were delicious....) i set to work making the egg nog in a kitchen that would have made alton brown proud, with em readily measuring out anything i needed. when i asked for nutmeg, she gave me the option of "ground" or "whole" and, wanting this to be the best, asked for "whole", to which she promptly set about grating a whole nutmeg... nut(?) i joked about the bourbon listed in the recipe and she pulled out a basket containing numerous little glass jars, handing me a small bottle imitation rum extract. i don't think it's any coincidence that mark declared this year's nog to be the best we've ever had (and everyone agreed.)

while em and i were trying to talk movies amidst the clamor of an electric mixer, her husband renn was busy getting to know everyone else there. one thing i've always really liked about renn is that he can easily talk to anyone and make you feel comfortable. when i was realizing that most of my guests didn't know each other very well, i was grateful that renn would be there to welcome everyone. and it was fun to look up from time time and see him laughing and talking with my friends.

tim and lyndsie came just as we were finishing the nog. i had made enough for one serving for each guest i knew was coming, since mixing and pouring nearly a gallon (or more) of nog can get rather unwieldy and i didn't want to create any more of a mess than i already would be. so tim made me promise that i'd make some for them in minnesota. people were talking and laughing, lyndsie and mary joy were playing with the kids, and em and i were tidying up the kitchen. things were working out.

as is customary, i introduced everyone briefly, since they are all my friends but not everyone else knows each other (depending on the crowd, mark sometimes does.) from there we moved down to watch the movie. in an odd combination of my friends all wanting to be gracious and not take the couch, plus most of my friends are used to sitting on the floor while watching "the muppet's Christmas carol" at my parties, i was the only one on the couch, despite our hosts' repeated offerings.

now, one of the established rules of the muppet and nog party is that you sing along to the songs as best you can. when em was starting the movie, she asked if there was a sing-along option, something that i presume her family of boys enjoys. i had never given a thought to it and there wasn't such an option, but the closed captioning was something we soon wished we thought of years ago. suddenly, all of the words were on the screen and everyone was able to sing along. it was pretty dang awesome as we joined in the chorus of scrooge's opening song. and, as a further bonus, the captioning helped us catch a lot of off-handed jokes that even tim and i had never noticed before.

i did learn something interesting about the story (you knew this was coming, kristin): as the ghost of Christmas present is fading, it's apparent that scrooge has already had his change of heart. he pleads with the spirit to stay and to teach him more, declaring that he wants to be better. but his humility and willingness to repent do not excuse him from the third and most difficult lesson he still had to learn, perhaps to make this change permanent. i also like that the sad events he sees are what will be if things remain as they are, but that they do not have to be what he saw.
not only is it a fun muppet movie, it's a darn good movie period.

a few times during the movie i stepped out for another gingerbread man (reportedly, there's a hint of black pepper in them) and as i passed either renn or em, i thanked them again for being such excellent hosts and that this party was going great. after the movie, everyone mingled and we gathered for a group picture.
then, at kristin's request, an "american gothic" version.
and then, at someone else's odd request, one where we were all pointing at mark.

as kristin and i got in the car, she turned to me and said, "i think this has been one of my favorite muppet parties."
mine, too.


Em said...

I'm glad and relieved you are pleased with how it all went down. My kids could have easily sabotaged the whole thing, but I think they did pretty well. AND Renn really genuinely enjoyed himself, which is a big deal for an event that requires him to be awake late at night. It's not his forte.

The Former 786 said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is an awesome tradition! I hope it continues for years to come!

LJ said...

That photo was a slice of fried gold.

Mark A. said...

I totally thought you guys were joking about the rum flavoring.

kwistin said...

it really was one of the best.

and yeah, i knew that was coming... ;)

"...but his humility and willingness to repent do not excuse him from the third and most difficult lesson he still had to learn, perhaps to make this change permanent."

just wanted to post that in the comments, in case i need to quickly find it later, because it is an invaluable lesson.


Andrea said...

ahem. I love the Muppet Christmas Carol. Like, love it beyond all other Christmas and Muppet movies combined. P.S. I love the Muppet Christmas Carol.