Wednesday, December 31, 2008

one page later

Imagine you have one of these desk calendars. You rip out a page each day and either toss it or keep it, maybe because you think the cartoon is funny. In November you make a note to yourself to get a replacement for 09.

And now you’re on the last page and it’s about to go out the way of the others. Is this a cause for celebration? Apparently. I learned today that it is the single biggest drinking night of the year. Worldwide. Imagine – the world gets drunk because we’re switching from one pack of pages to the next.

That would be the cynical view. And I know many who live by it. None of this frenzied minute counting until midnight!

But, that’s not me. I’m with the partying crowd on this night. Not so much the dancing and carousing type of party, but a celebration nonetheless. In my book, that means eating well and having a glass of champagne on hand at midnight.

[Drinking too much is not in the books. Over ingestion of anything has such unpleasant effects that at my age, you want to keep such indulgence to a minimum. But I do remember one year where the meal was too long and the wine flight too bountiful and standing straight was a challenge. I was younger then.]

We (not Ed; predictably, he turns his back on revelry of any kind) start New Year's Eve day with a meal out. Since we are staying in Andersonville, once regarded as Chicago’s Swedish enclave…

011 copy

…we go to a place that serves Swedish pancakes. And these. Arguably Danish-like, but hey, why draw boundaries.

004 copy

Then we starve ourselves for the meal ahead. It’s a challenge. Especially since, as each year, I stop by at Pasticceria Natalina to pick up a treat for the guy back home. How can one resist Natalina’s??

008 copy

I reluctantly pass on the trays of pastries. Natalina says they need to be eaten by day’s end. Not possible. Or at least not advisable. But man oh man, sweet, charming Natalina, you are an amazing baker!

009 copy

The rest of the day goes by quietly. You can hear the clock tick. Minutes, lived, tossed away, replaced by the next set and the next. Soon we’ll hail a cab and go down to Suzy Crofton’s place on Wells. Where we’ll eat well, make frantic calls to friends and loved ones at midnight and drink that glass of champagne.

Happy new stack of pages. Happy New Year.