I hosted my first New Year's Eve party in years last night. It was the first one I have ever hosted on my own, so I was a bit nervous, and frankly I think I may have gone over the top as there was no one to say "Stop!". I always wanted to have a masked ball like the old ones of Mosart's Vennia or like the Carnival of Venice, so I set the theme as 'Come as a character that Terry Gilliam might have dreamed of'. What fun!!
I rented beautiful Lakewood Lodge; I had made the reservation back in April but as there was a wedding reception held there on the 27th, I really had to scramble to get the ballroom decorated in time. Two darling friends helped me, but even still it was a major job. Everything was done in gold, silver and red as much as possible. Unable to find that many tablecloths in red, I used white ones with red and golden candles nestled in greenery sprinkled with silver glitter. We used white candles in the chandeliers simply because I thought it would look better, more romantic. Lakewood has a mirror ball so with the lights low and all the candles lit, it looked truly spectacular! Bubbles, baubbles and sparkles everywhere!
Last night, a Blue Moon... the moon that only occurs once every nineteen years on New Years Eve. It's not really blue, but full, against a sky of the deepest, clearest midnight blue. The man in the moon looked like it came from a vintage story book with the brightest stars dotted artfully about, all reflected in the still lake below the lodge. It was bitter cold but the lights from the ballroom glowed warmly on the closest trees of the surrounding woods, making everything seem cozy and inviting. There was even a hint of woodsmoke from the roaring fireplace in the air. Perfect!
I think everyone I had invited came and brought friends. The fantastical creatures that arrived at my party seemed not of this world. I felt as if a portal had opened up in the ether and beings from unseen worlds had come pouring in. Wings, horns, wands and crowns...glimmer, gossamer, silk, satin, sequins, velvet and soft leathers. Heroes and villains, beauties and crones, serfs and kings, dancing denizens of beaches and forests... all and more.
All had come for a Midnight Dream.
The catered food was spectacular as was the music provided by a group of friends. Many of my friends are multi-talented and those with musical gifts sat in with the band and added their special sounds to the delight of all. I don't think it was just the magic of champagne that made everyone glow with excitement and happiness. We were all saying goodbye to 2009 with style and hello to 2010 with the sparkling eyes of children opening birthday presents. Ah, what is in this big box, what will it be? All I know it is just for me! Hehe!
I dressed as the Snow Queen. Vintage lace, white, heavily beaded satin, fur trimmed cape, all assembled with the tiniest hand sewn stiches. I borrowed my great aunt Lavinnia's diamond tiara (Yes, it was real, presented to her by her adored husband Theodore on their tenth wedding anniversary... unfortunately he was killed in a tragic hunting accident two years later. She never remarried but remained alone in their Victorian manor where I, coincidentally spent many an enchanted hour amonst her vast collections of pictures and books.)
I felt the part, even though my heels were killing me. :)
At Midnight we held our glasses high and began the countdown, some were misty-eyed, some were grinning with anticipation of New Year kisses, some were looking a bit serious and thoughtful. As the count of seven was reached, the huge double doors of the ballroom crashed open and there stood Zorro! Posed, left hand on hip, right hand grasping a rapier pointing down at the floor. The room suddenly became quiet, every eye fixed on this stunning man in black. He grinned wickedly and began marching towards me, flicking his rapier as he came. When he stood in front of me he bowed deeply, one leg crossed over the other. (Men can be beautiful too can't they?) Quick as a cat he stood upright, snapped his sword at my face and lifted the diamond tiara from my hair in one smooth movement. High in the air it sailed and as it came down, he caught it in his gloved hand. "My lady." he laughed, turned and ran from the room.
Stunned but for a second, I rushed after him but unfortunately he was better on his heels than I on mine and I (and the crowd behind me) reached the open door to the outside just in time to see him rear up on his black horse. We could only watch in shock as he galloped off and melted into the dark woods, leaving behind a "Z" cut deeply into a snowdrift by the door. Great aunt Lavinnia (who had came as a hag complete with a wax 'poisoned' apple) passed out on the spot!
Of course the police were called, but I don't think they took it seriously, believing their time would better spent catching drunken drivers than chasing a man on a horse in the cold woods. It had clouded up since the party had started and snow was falling heavily. Hoof prints were not to be found. They took statements, wished us a Happy New Year and left us to get on with our party (after cautioning us to drink responsibly and have designated drivers). Police!
Well what could one do? We did as advised.
I began to write this to you today just to let you know the first thing that happened to me in 2010 was that I was robbed by Zorro! It is kind of funny; horrible, but funny. (but not as horrible as my hangover:) I got halfway through the telling, when there was a bold knock at my door. When I answered it, there was no one to be seen, but there was a small gold foil wrapped package left on the step. Pinned to the silver ribbon, a mask! A black velvet half mask!
Opening it I found the tiara and this note:
Forgive me my theft of your treasure! A prank, a practical joke, nothing more,
to give you and your guests an unforgettable New Year's Eve!
Find enclosed the tiara, unharmed!
Forever your faithful servant,
I'm back in Great Aunt Lavinnia's will!