Sex on the Beach (and The 2013 Blog of the Year Award!)

We rang in the New Year with a 1950s cocktail party.  Costumes were recommended, encouraged, applauded and appreciated.

Eli took a class in bartending while in Argentina last year, and mixed some very colorful cocktails for some of us, and some very tasty mocktails for the kids, teetotalers, and designated drivers. He dressed the part, right down to the fake cigarette that made little puffs of corn starch when blown into.

We have the best friends in the world!  We can always count on the Rahn Gang to come dressed to the nines…

Check out those poodle skirts!

We had our beatnik, our cube(squarer than square), and our cool cat.

Remember the Alamo?  How about Davy Crockett of the Wild Frontier, the rage in the late fifties?

Speaking of wild, Cousins Nancy and Ian lent some class to the party when they arrived looking like James Bond and Jackie O, only better.

And in a class of their own…Sue, Rick, and Stu!

They brought soft drinks I haven’t seen since the ’50s AND….

(Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!)

…the fine fare we were raised on back then:  Bugles, Velveeta, Franz Fruit Pies, Vienna Sausages, and Hostess Twinkies, Cupcakes, and Ding Dongs!

Not to mention Wonder Bread and baloney!

My new favorite photo in the world—Sue holding “Mommy’s Little Helper.”

Our bartender kept ’em coming, mostly non-alcoholic drinks with all kinds of fruity juices adorned with tiny umbrellas.  I saw a really pretty drink go by, and asked for one just like it.  I thought it was a mocktail, but it went straight to my head.  “Isn’t this non-alcoholic?” I asked.  Eli replied, “Mom, if it were a virgin cocktail it probably wouldn’t be called  ‘Sex on the Beach’.”   Yeah, probably not.  But I did discover how much I enjoy Sex On the Beach.

At midnight, like always, we toasted the New Year with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne and a round of Boston Coolers, the perfect combination of Vernor’s ginger ale and vanilla ice cream.  

Dear friends, family, followers, and all my blogging buddies, here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year!

 

And one last nod to the old year…

Many thanks to Sarah Potter, of sarahpotterwrites for nominating me for The 2013 Blog of the Year Award.   Sarah is a novelist, a talented musician, and a poet with a fresh voice and a sly sense of humor.  Her mastery of the haiku is a wonder.  Please check out her blog!

 

My Wish For You

Winter break!!!!!

After a long quarter and a case of pneumonia, Bea came home for winter break, taking the train up from Stanford with her BFFs, Ben and Michael.

And my son Eli flew into Sea-Tac after ten months in Argentina!

Such great kids!  And it’s wonderful when your best friends just ‘click’ with each other.

They filled our home with music…

…and were prone to spontaneous bursts of dancing…

…and juggling.

And they cooked too!

Not for nothing are they known in certain parts of California as ‘The ‘Stache Squad.’  All for one, and one for all!

 

A game of Risk becomes a costume affair.

 

Bea and Eli shared their hometown, and took in a bit of culture while here.

Proof that the sun sometimes shines in Seattle!

Gifts were exchanged, most of them homemade.

Eli’s gift was to write an original murder mystery for the whole gang.  He put his storytelling experience to good use.

It was, of course, a costume affair…

…set in Russia in 1860.

It seemed to capture the social turmoil of the times.

We were sad to have to send Ben home in time for Christmas.

But it felt like we had already had Christmas, and the icing on the cake was a day of snow, a rare treat, a white Christmas.

The only thing missing was Ben.  So the kids made…


…a SnowBen!

Of course, juggling ensued.

And huggling.

And snow angels!

And it wouldn’t be a proper snow day without hot chocolate.

Another bunch of friends and family have arrived, and it’s hard to believe we have yet another Christmas to celebrate.  It makes me realize that holidays have less to do with the dates on the calendar than the light we create in our hearts and homes and between each other.

My dear friends and family and blogging buddies from all over the world, after health and happiness, my wish for you is this:

May you never be too old for dinosaur pancakes.

…or dress-up…

I wish you a Merry Christmas, a happy Solstice, Kwanza, and New Year.  And whatever the New Year brings, may you always have, no matter what the calendar says, or however large or small, an occasion to celebrate and  a shoulder to lean on.

All images and words copyright Naomi Baltuck.

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No Admittance, Except on Party Business

A cherished friend, One-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, broke bread with us on Christmas Eve, and shared the gift that keeps on giving–the nastiest cold germ I’ve ever made personal acquaintance with. By Christmas night, my throat was scratchy, and it was all downhill from there.  The next day Bea was felled.  The day after, Eli.  My brother Lew, who spent the holiday with us, left to suffer in the privacy of his own home.  A week later, on New Year’s Eve Eve we were still in no shape to host the hobbit party we had planned.  I rescheduled with family friends, but Bea asked if she could still have just a small handful of her friends over.  I said, yes, but only if they knew they were coming at their own risk.  So we did a little decorating, a little shopping, a little food prep, a little dress up, and we were ready to party in quarantine.

Eli and I were chief cook and bottle washer, but we dressed up too.  Then, like dwarves showing up unannounced at Bilbo’s hobbit hole, the guests began to arrive.  They came in ones…

..and threes…

Oh, yeah, and in most interesting and unexpected twosomes!

They played…

…and played.

…and played.

As midnight drew near, there was only one task left to do. Mama hobbit began to prepare the Boston Coolers, an ancient custom practiced by native Detroiters and their offspring, to toast the New Year. It is a delicate concoction of Vernors ginger ale, not Canada Dry or any other pale substitute. Only Vernors, aged in wood, and deftly mixed with vanilla ice cream. Try it sometime, but you must promise not to settle for anything less than real Vernors!

Cheers! Bottoms up! Skumps! Happy New Year!

Then, just as suddenly as they came…well, actually it was four hours later…the mysterious guests slipped out of the door…

…and melted into the night.

The moral of the story is this:  When a friend comes knocking, and you are tempted to go back to bed with a hot water bottle…open your door to the possibilities.  Even if you think you aren’t up to it, chances are you might be glad you did.

May the New Year bring you peace, health, happiness, and just enough adventure to keep you on your toes!

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Inviting.