Thursday, November 24, 2011

So...Here's where we're at...

It's been a crazy couple of months over here at the Sphere.

For starters, I started work again in the fall as I normally do. But this time, instead of just teaching college courses, I'm also teaching private lessons and doing graphic design with a new company that specializes in web presence and social media. Needless to say, this has had a tremendous impact on my blogging time (a condition which better scheduling and a little whip-cracking from some of my readers will soon rectify).

Apart from that, no major disasters to report. Except my car. We'll get to that in another post soon enough.

The big buzz around here, though, is that the Man Cave is done. Yes, DONE. And yes, you'll be getting the supreme VIP tour soon enough. In fact, not only is it done, it's got Christmas decorations in it!

That's right...the holidays are surging up the calendar (and, Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends by the way), and I've already started preparations for the only big holiday event I hold every year, which is my open house party the weekend before Christmas. I may well blog that event (if I can get someone to take pictures while I'm busy being a host), because if you're a friend of mine and have never come by, you're definitely missing out.

Basically, I throw the doors open (figuratively) around 1:00 in the afternoon, and people come and go as they please all day. There's always tons of food, including more cookies than you can imagine (people always bring some to the party too), lots to drink, and a few specialties like my now-famous eggnog (homemade, and actually slow-cooked to remove any possible pathogens...also about 8,000 calories a glass, but SO worth it) and a crock-pot full of hot mulled cider.

Dinner always includes at least one tourtiere, although after last year's party (where I had 17 people to feed at supper...a new record for that one meal) I may do two just in case. It's also really good cold. And finally, the piece of resistance, a rosemary roasted beef tenderloin with shallots in a red wine glaze.

I know that one's not especially Christmassy, but rosemary is a traditional Croatian holiday element (we'll go with that), and it's a good excuse to spend a lot of money on one cut of beef.

Because my company was all on one floor last year, I decided that cooking the roast in the oven would be too hot, and probably smoke the place up as well. The oven needs to be really hot for this one, and it would have been uncomfortable for everyone hanging out in there. So I used the barbecue as a roasting oven instead. This worked amazingly well, so that's getting a repeat performance (just put the roast in the roast pan, and put the whole thing in a hot barbecue on the highest setting...easy). It was a little slower than the oven, probably because it was cold outside, but it still did the trick. sounds a little girly when you see this stuff written out. But then again, we're talking about cooking meat with fire, so it's all good.

To redeem myself, I would like to point out that when it came to decorating the Man Cave (not just for Christmas mind you), I elicited the help of several females for details like paint colours, holiday coordinates, wall art and cushions. Not that I don't have an eye for details, but when you're standing at HomeSense or Walmart staring at all those racks of pillows and paintings, it gets a little mind boggling. So ladies, thanks so much for your help. And guys, when it comes to decorating your cave or hut, don't be afraid to ask a girl for help. They usually know better than you what constitutes "masculine" when it comes to style.

I wanted to use cases of empties as end tables and old Playboys as coasters. I was advised that this might not give the air of sophistication I was going for.