I ended up only making one thing, my tortilla - which turned out perfectly and was consumed quickly, to universal accolades.
Somebody brought me a clever little bag of these cherry chocolate kisses. I didn't know such delights even existed. Too bad I don't remember who brought them.
I had the help of several experienced and well-meaning people. I must bow low and pay homage to their skills here.
Tony - who apart from being a gorgeous flamenco guitarist, is also an experienced party-giver and an extremely organized person. He made a list. Checked it twice, and made it all happen. He also thought of party elements that would never have occured to me, like why don't I just BUY a big lasagna and feed that to the masses? Make it easier on yourself, he said. And he gave me my party mantra: "This is a party for you. If your friends show up to share it with you, even better." This actually helped calm me the hell down.
Audrey Smith - who agreed to back me up in the food dept. if needed and opened the door to her glorious garage-full of Christmas decorations when I realized I had none of the necessary decorative paraphernalia. She also lent me all of her funky Christmas jazz CDs so I could make the appropriate playlist for the kitchen Ipod. She showed up early, looking festive, and stayed late. She ranted and raved over my tortilla, too, which is particularly gratifying.
Catalano's veggie lasagna was a huge hit. Other people brought dishes. Salad, and bread and lentils and lots of sweet stuff. Audrey made her popular persimmon roll. People stayed and talked for several hours. There was some dancing, thanks to Debbie, who grabbed me mid-party and said, "Remember when we used to swing-dance in junior high?"
"No!" I yelled, trying to avoid the tree. It did make for some comic relief.
So this is all behind me, thank God. It was fun, but I think it aged me two years.
It's still Hanukkah though. So I'm bound by honor to try my hand at latkes this week. Should be a real mess. Stay tuned.