November 2nd, 2008

out with friends, crown

The Ensneakening

Remember the sneakiness? And that was in September, and then some of you were asking how it turned out, and I had to say that it was longer-term sneakiness than that?

Now it can be told: we had a surprise birthday party for matastas last night. dlandon and I are the Queens of Sneaky. (Several other people are Grand Dukes and Duchesses in our Realm of Sneaky.) He thought he was coming down here for dinner. And there was dinner! in a nibbly party sort of way. Just with a couple dozen more people than he expected.

Keeping the secret in person was no problem for me. I have a really good deadpan, and while matastas has many fine skills, he will be first to tell you that reading Scandosotan deadpan is not on the list. Also I don't live with him; dlandon was completely awesome at seeing him every single day and never letting anything slip (except that I was making meatballs for dinner, which was not exactly a huge secret). Oh, and since enough surprise party novices asked about this: no, the cars aren't a problem--you have people park around the block or down the street where the neighbors' bushes block the view! Silly monkeys.

No, the hard part for me was lj. I would have lj'ed a lot of stuff in this last week about the iterations of the lamb meatballs and other proposed food experiments and accomplishments and difficulties getting there with the vertigo stuff. Under ordinary circumstances, I almost certainly would have talked about the gigantic bundles of mint and dill Byerly's delivered to my house, necessitating mojitos last night (oh noes, oh noes) and company chicken later this week (wailie wailie woe) because four pounds of lamb and a huge batch of tzadziki only accounted for half of the mint and dill they brought me. But if I was talking about that much food, there was some chance that matastas was going to think there was something odd going on with me, even if he didn't guess that it was a surprise party for him. And creating a no-Matt sneak filter did not really seem like the thing somehow.

The meatballs are all gone, but the tzadziki remains, so I guess we're figuring out what we're going to do with tzadziki on a different night than we have company chicken. Or a different two nights. Or possibly a different three nights and every day for lunch. On the up side, it's good tzadziki. We are also well endowed with pita bread, mulberry cream cheese dip, fancy olives, and apple crisp, among other things. Also there are spare carrots and apples and frozen mini-quiches that never got put out. I just didn't want anybody to go home hungry! timprov managed to talk me into saving my new stuffed mushroom recipe idea for later, on the theory that matastas would rather have me awake enough to form complete sentences than have mushrooms, and on balance it looks like this was the right idea.

Also we seem to have once again had a net gain in beer rather than a net loss in beer over the course of the party. I am wandering around this morning singing, "My kitchen is full of beer," to the tune of "In Heaven There Is No Beer (And That's Why We Drink It Here)." I don't like beer, but I know people who do, so that should be all right.

dlandon and I had a really good time planning this and a really good time executing it, and I think others did, too, from what I could see.

Key bits of sneakiness: last weekend we went out for dinner with matastas and dlandon, and I insisted that it should be Matt's birthday dinner "because we won't see you on your actual birthday." (We didn't. His actual birthday was last Monday.) At that dinner, markgritter was musing aloud about whether we should have an Election Day party at the last minute, which we decided not to do because two parties in four days was too much. And then porphyrin delivered the coup de grace by having Matt come over to get his present on his birthday "since it sounds like you have plans this weekend." What did I tell you? SO SNEAKY.

Ista handled the monkeys very well. The first monkeys here were her baby and her boy and their parents (porphyrin and crew), so that was a good thing from the dogly perspective, and then there was 1crowdedhour, whose fine traits are not only readily apparent to monkeys, which we knew, but also to my dog, which we did not: Caroline got wagging right away, which is pretty unusual. And as I told matociquala already this morning, I was worried about the everybody gathering around the kitchen door to yell surprise, whether the dog would fuss, but in fact she thought it was the most sensible thing monkeys had done in a long time, gathering to bark and sniff at the incoming monkey as a pack, and if we behaved that way all the time, she would be somewhat more satisfied about our sanity. She did decide, around 11:30, to go upstairs, lie down on the bed, and bark quietly to let us know that it was late and she was tired and it was time for these other monkeys to GO HOME. But when they didn't go home, she came back down and snuggled the birthday boy and slept with her head on his shoulder. So it was a pretty fine night for the dog as well.
good mris pic

Two things about Tuesday

1. If you are in the US and choose to vote on Tuesday, please look carefully at your method of voting. I don't mean your method of selecting how to vote, I mean physically, specifically, how are they having you vote in your precinct? Ask yourself: if there was a question of malice or error, is there some way that a nonpartisan group could recount my vote with some reasonable assurance that they were counting it the way I cast it?

This is not just important if the election doesn't go your way. Even if you're having the best election of your life and are thrilled with everyone who is elected from president to third assistant dogcatcher--even if every referendum you wanted passed and every one you didn't failed--the process is important to democracy. And while people may feel a lot more passionate about it if they feel their vote has been stolen and the results have changed thereby, it sounds a lot less like sour grapes to say, "I don't dispute the results of the current election, but I think we need to look at this in the long term and change how we're doing this."

(People outside the US: no, it's not standardized. It's not even standardized within a metro area in some places, much less within a state, much less within all of them.)

2. Here is my plan for Tuesday: normal morning consisting of internet stuff, PT, writing, couch time with poodle, workout, shower, lunch, PT. Then there will be voting. Then tisane. And then--this is important--I will stop reading lj until Wednesday morning. I will not turn on the news. If I watch anything on the television, it will be a DVD or perhaps the first period of the Wild/Sharks game.

Because here's the thing: there is nothing I can do at that point to change the outcome, and it is not a horse race. If someone edges ahead with the first few states reporting and then someone else surges with the next few and like that, me watching it happen will not change it. And me watching it happen doesn't change the results of the Wild/Sharks game, either, but at least our man Mikko is on fire this year, and he has such pretty hands. (Note for the potentially confused: this is not literal. By "pretty hands" I mean that he does skilled and sometimes unexpectedly elegant things with his stick and the puck, not that he should model rings and wristwatches.) I know that some people will be comforted by knowing as much as possible about the election as soon as possible. I think it'll be a better idea for me to think about something else. And if you find you're not enjoying watching the results trickle in, maybe it's time for you to make cookies or read a book or knit a sock. If you are, if liveblogging the election or sitting around snarking with friends is your thing, enjoy it. I'll catch up with what you had to say on Wednesday morning.