Sunday, January 27, 2013

Professor Plum, In the Study, With the Candlestick

Finally!  Last weekend I officially crossed off my first item from my 2013 List!  The item is #15: Participate in a Murder Mystery Dinner Party.

The Setting:  Spicer Castle Inn (aka "Sir Roger's Wealthy Estate circa 1936")
The Occasion: HR's 33rd party (aka "Sir Roger's Dinner Party")
The Guests:  HR and AL (aka "Actress"  and "Rock Climber"), KM and PO (aka "Billiards Champ" and "El Doctor"), NL and B (aka "Jeiress" and "Financier") and of course BM and me (aka "Golf Pro/Lawyer" and "Personal Secretary to Sir Rogers")

When first approached with the invite to attend (as part of a surprise birthday party for my good friend HR), I was hesitant, yet curious. Curiosity obviously won out, and we called the castle to book our room, selecting an *ahem* economically friendly charmer of a room in the Inn known simply as "Amy's Room," complete with the claw foot tub, situated rather conspicuously in the corner of the room.

Our official "dinner invites" followed shortly thereafter, with only a hint of a description of our characters and suggestions for attire.  As "personal secretary to Sir Rogers" my suggested attire included "granny glasses" "a steno pad" "a lace collar"  and generally "conservative dress." Brian's attire suggestion was a little more straight forward, with the option for a "golf look" or a suit.  I got to shopping, and scored a perfect steal at TJ Maxx, finding a hideous blouse (shockingly by Ralph Lauren), complete with a high ruffled collar and bow around the neck, for $7.  Good old RL was originally asking $70 for the monstrosity, which means I got it for 90% off.  So yeah. SUCK IT RL!  And also?  As you can see, I can do basic math!  Yeah Public School Education! I found a cheesy argyle sweater and flat golf cap for Brian, for under $15 for both.  Finding these steals took the better part of a Sunday afternoon, so I was happy that our collective 'looks' were a hit at the party.

I admit, I was a little worried about the upcoming mystery evening. Was I supposed to create a back story for myself?  Did I miss some email with additional details?  What if I looked silly?  B's response to all, in this order were "no, relax", "no, relax" and "of course you will. that's part of the fun!"  He was right.  I needed to chill.   When we arrived at the castle, our guest of honor was happily surprised, and all attendees came dressed in their part, sporting their own minor insecurities about the evening (much to my comfort, and admittedly I was glad to see I was in good company with my worry), and none of us quite sure what to expect.

Let the games begin!  I won't go into too much detail, as I don't want to spoil the story for any future Spicer Castle Murder Mystery guests, but I will share some of the logistics.  The murder mystery dinner took place entirely around the dinner table, and throughout the span of a 4 course meal.  We did not move room to room, which in hindsight makes sense (it's a dinner, after all), though many of us thought we might be moving about for the game.  The event was fueled by a series of clues revealed across several 'rounds' that corresponded with a dinner course (Our particular game was also fueled by several bottles of wine).  The clues included instructions about what had to be disclosed in each round (and what to keep secret!).  What I found particularly intriguging about the murder mystery game is that it can accommodate up to 40 players.  We had 8 players, and it took us about 3 hours, so I can only imagine the logistics involved in a game of 40!

But I digress.  The events and clues are "supposed" to be revealed through our collective careful sleuthing and logical question-asking, but mostly we went around the table reading our clues in overly dramatic voices.  We started to get the hang of it, more or less, in later rounds.  Yep, we got the hang of it, all right.  In fact, we were SO brilliant that exactly ONE of us solved the murder correctly (...that would be my 'boo' B of course!)

All in all, the murder mystery dinner was a success, as was the "after party" in HR and AL's cabin, where we continued to imbibe and play a rousing game of Telestrations into the wee hours of the morning before calling it a night to grab a little shut eye before our massive breakfast (to round out the 2nd "b" in the whole B&B experience) the next morning.

To summarize:  "Participate in a murder mystery dinner party."  Check!  One item down, twenty four to go.  Whew!

Here's B and me at the "pre-party" celebrating HRs b-day in one of the guest rooms.  I don't know WTF is up with that ridic face I'm making.  I made it all night.  I think it was my "conservative secretary face.  But mostly I just look constipated.  Which I wasn't.  TMI???

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Challenge Accepted!

Well folks, I've started chip chipping away at my list. I am now one-tenth of the way completed with one of my goals. To be specific, I am now one-tenth of the way completed with goal #45 "Make/do 10 “pins” from my Pinterest pin boards (the catch - must be from 10 different boards)".

I actually achieved my one-tenth-of-one-item status on New Years Day, but I've been sitting on it and savoring the glory of my high-achieving status before making it public to the "masses. "Masses", of course, is relative. In this case it approximates to four readers, give or take...well, four I guess..

Anyway, let's talk of my goal-conquering progress! For New Years, I made a delicious Pillsbury Crescent Roll breakfast casserole from my "Breakfast-Rise and Shine!" Pinboard. I think my dream job might actually be to test, rate, and publicize Pillsbury Crescent Roll recipes. Does that job exist? And if so, can I have it? I'm not ashamed to admit my love for those flaky, buttery crescents from heaven runs deep. To paraphrase a quote from Buddy the Elf (though, I mean, that's so passe given Christmas is, like, so over) "I'm in love [with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls] and I don't care who knows it!

But enough dilly dallying. Here is my creation! Interested in the recipe? Follow me on Pinterest, or you can head straight to the source at Bran Appetit!

Here are all the ingredients.  B made fun of me b/c it took me a while to create this artful masterpiece of packaged refrigerated foods. In all of my infinite kitchen wisdom, I almost forgot to add the milk. Almost.

Lots of tasty casserole!  All for me!  Just kidding, I shared some with B.

Om nom nom!  See how I colorfully arranged the fruit?  Such a balanced breakfast, deelish!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ringing in 2013

Happy New Year!  B and I had a chill ringing-in of the new year, which suited me just fine. We had an 830p dinner reservation at Cafe Ena, a Latin Fusion restaurant here in Minne. We enjoyed some delicious ahi, scallop and shrimp appetizers, and ordered a lovely bottle of La Posta, a red blend from Argentina. I had the "Palma" (a polenta crusted grouper), while B ordered even more shrimp. In fact, B is making a shrimp appetizer for us to enjoy later today, so he may actually turn into a shrimp, or maybe go into some sort of Mercury overload. B, no more shrimp for a while after this, ok? We then came home and popped a bottle of champagne, and I was in bed by 1230 while B stayed up and caught up on The League.

B and his unexpectedly massive head-on shrimp at Cafe Ena

2012 was quite an eventful year for us, with B completing his MBA, our 1100 mile move to Minne, and both of us starting new jobs (well, mine only sort of new, as I rejoined the ranks of a former employer). We finished out our year of excitement by celebrating Christmas with B's family in Ann Arbor before driving back to Minneapolis for a quiet new year. One of my favorite memories of our holiday with B's family, was his mom's introduction of a new family tradition, the Peppermint Pig. The Peppermint Pig, according to Victorian Lore, represents good health, happiness and prosperity. After Christmas dinner, a small pig made of peppermint is passed around the table for each person to share a tale of the past year's good fortune and take a swing at the peppermint pig with a tiny hammer. Once everyone has told their tale and swung at the pig, the group then enjoys the broken peppermint in celebration of the past year's successes and in hopes of good fortune for the new year. Needless to say, we had a blast whacking the peppermint out of that pig.

While B and I certainly had a lot to celebrate in 2012, I'm not sad to see the year close and I look forward to seeing what's in store for 2013. I'm not a big fan of "resolutions" - after all, quoth someone literary and famous "a goal without a plan is just a wish" - but I do have one big 2013 resolution. My resolution is, quite simply to DO more. To be a "yes" person! To experience things! To accomplish stuff! Cheese alert - I want to be more than just a 'dreamer' and a 'thinker' in 2013.

So in a nutshell, I resolve to DO things big and small in 2013.  And per the quote, I have a plan of action in the form of "The List" - you can learn more and check it out here.

Wish me luck!