New Year’s Eve in Pasadena can be tricky. Y’all have probably seen all those people camping out overnight to see the Rose Parade. What you might not realize is that the parade route goes straight through the middle of the city: Colorado Blvd. is our main street, and all those people camping out make getting around town on New Year’s Eve kinda complicated.
Joyce lives on one side of Colorado and I live on the other. I was heading up to her house, and she made me kinda nervous about not leaving my apartment any later than 6 or I’d never get across. I think she may have been overreacting some, since I had no trouble getting through then, and I’ve heard from people like Carter (who grew up in Pasadena) that he’s been out all night long in Pasadena on New Year’s Eve and there’s nothing to worry about.
Joyce kinda made a big deal about what we were going to wear. She wanted us to get all dressed up, even if we were going to be the only people at her house. She said she had a long dress she never gets to wear…and that it would be fun. And, oh yeah, that I would look super hot in a tuxedo. Yeah – she wanted me to wear a tuxedo. Not a dark suit like the one I have in my closet.
I don’t mind getting dressed up, and I didn’t even mind having to rent a tux…the only this is that, since most of what Joyce had planned involved watching movies, getting into a tux just so I could take off the jacket and loosen the bow tie so I could sit on the couch seemed pretty silly to me. But, ok, I went along with it. I’ve put on a tux before. Dad even gave me a set of onyx cufflinks and studs so that, when I rented a tux, it wouldn’t look rented. I reckon wearing clothes someone else wore isn’t the greatest feeling in the world, but I work in clothing retail and I know how much people try things on. Odds are, if you buy something in a store, someone else has had it on anyway.
So I found a tux rental place, and went for something totally classic, since I reckoned that was what Joyce wanted. I thought I might wear the necklace instead of the bow tie, kinda as a joke, since, hey, it is black. I even tried it out. It just looked stupid. So I went for the bow tie. (I know how to tie a real bow tie, but, when you rent a tux, they always give you the pre-tied kind.)
So I got to Joyce’s, and she’d decorated some more, this time in silver and black. Since we were going to be in the den most of the time watching movies, and since the rest of the house was still decorated for Christmas, she concentrated on that room. She had streamers and things, but the best part was the table she’d set up with a silver tablecloth that had lights attached to it. I’m not making it sound like much, but, trust me, it looked amazing. The whole table was glowing. So we had a whole New Year’s Eve room. I love looking at Christmas trees, but her light-up arrangements of silver flowers were really cool. And elegant. I felt that I fit right in wearing my tux.
I got the point of the decorations and my wearing a tux when I saw Joyce. She had on an evening gown like they wear to the Oscars. It was a rich purple with what she told me were called beads and sequins on the bodice and on a chiffon layer on top of the skirt. (She wrote those words down for me because she knew I’d be writing about the dress in the blog. Me knowing about sequins and chiffon would be totally gay.) She said she bought the dress a few years ago on sale because she really liked it, but hasn’t found an occasion for it. That’s got to be hard in LA, where everything’s so casual. If I put a tie on once a month, it’s a lot.
So Joyce looked great and glamorous in her evening gown, and she said I looked like a “young James Bond” in my tux. (Okay, I seriously liked that compliment. It was probably the best compliment I got in all of 2018.)
Joyce planned out the whole evening. For food, she decided we’d have only appetizers…and she made and bought a ton of those. Everything from a TGIFridays artichoke dip (she knows I like it) to a little can of caviar (which I’ve liked the two times I’ve had some.) She had all kinds of nuts and olives, two kinds of deviled eggs (the regular ones were a lot better than the anchovy ones she experimented with), cheeses, a really good pate (I can hear Keaton saying pate is gay), shrimp (everybody knows I love them), crab puffs and even more. I was amazed that she had plates for all of it, although she didn’t bring it all out at the same time. Oh yeah, when we got to the movies there was also popcorn with rosemary and parmesan cheese. That may sound weirdass, but it was pretty good.
Dessert was a make your own sundae set up, with everything you could imagine. Joyce even bought banana split dishes so I could show her how to make those. I learned something new that Joyce said she’d learned from a latina friend of hers: using sweetened condensed milk like chocolate syrup on ice cream. It’s amazing. And now I know why they have those squeeze bottles of the stuff with a Spanish name in the big market I shop at.
Y’all may be expecting that Joyce got champagne to go with it all, but she didn’t. We talked about it: I don’t really like champagne, she doesn’t like to drink. So she decided to skip it. Cheap champagne just gives you a headache, and expensive champagne isn’t worth the money. So we did like Adam and Allan and had a couple bottles of sparkling cider, which is delicious and looks just as good in fancyass champagne glasses.
Joyce also got in a some sampler packs of Belgian beers for me — she said Stone IPA wouldn’t be festive enough for New Year’s Eve. Maybe she was right. Although the samplers came with their own (cool) glasses, I tried pouring a light lager into a champagne glass. You gotta pour very carefully so it doesn’t spill over, but, if you ask me, it could pass for champagne too.
So who needs champagne lol?