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Diarist J88 Day 21

Dec. 31, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2023 

2 pm, Dec. 31.  

My original New Year’s Eve plan was to invite three friends over for dinner, go view Christmas lights and luminaries, watch a movie on Netflix, and then watch the ball drop in Times Square. However on Tuesday, Dec. 27, one of the guests called to say she had tested positive for Covid. I switched to Plan B which was to have one friend over for a different meal and the rest of the activities. On New Year’s Eve afternoon, while waiting to pick up my Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte with whip cream, my friend with COVID called to say she had tested negative two days in a row. Plan A was back on because I called the other two who were able to come. From Starbucks I drove to S. Tillotson Payless to get the remaining supplies needed for a Beef Burgundy dinner, pear salad, and French bread. The COVID friend (from FL) was temporarily staying at Westminster Village where her husband had recently moved in. She had no car in Muncie so one of my other two guests drove out and brought her to dinner. In addition to the aforementioned food, we had shrimp cocktail and a glass of Pino Noir which was left over from making the Beef Burgundy. It’s hard to find burgundy but Pino Noir comes from the same region of France and is a good substitute. We had no dessert. Too full. 

After dinner, we jumped in my car and headed for Elwood to see the 250 or more luminaries my sister and brother-in-law and their neighbors had lining their driveways. This is a tradition that usually occurs on Christmas Eve but, because of the high winds, was postponed to New Year’s Eve. It was spectacular. We then went inside and admired their Christmas decorations which included 50-70 nutcrackers and the Christmas bell collection inherited from my sister’s mother-in-law. There were some 50 beautiful bells which were a fraction of her total bell collection in which each bell is catalogued and dated. I asked how many total bells there were. My sister said too many to count and did we want a bell? 

We left their house and headed for downtown Elwood which has a magnificent three-block Christmas light display. Next was a trip to Callaway Park which has a drive through light display that is quite impressive, especially for a small town. We drove back Delaware County and stopped at a house off 500 W. that has every inch of yard covered with lighted Christmas ornaments. We figure they buy whatever is on sale after Christmas to add for the next year since there seems to be no theme to the display. Unfortunately, they had turned off the electricity before we got there, probably to save on their electric bill since I’m sure the display  was put up right after Thanksgiving. We could still see all the figures large and small covering the yard even though they weren’t lit up. Our last stop before heading back to my house was a residence in Deerbrook Estates that has a breathtaking light display that is as tasteful as the earlier one we visited is tacky. It is obviously put up by professionals.  

From there, we returned to my house to watch Matilda, the Musical which ended a few minutes before midnight. One of my guests had brought a bottle of champaign so I got out champaign glasses and we toasted the new year as we, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen watched the ball drop at Times Square. Our party broke up about a half hour later and I took my friend back to Westminster Village. I got back home in time to watch Anderson and Andy welcome the new year in the Central Time Zone. I was still wide awake so I cleaned up the dinner dishes, then watched the potato drop in Boise, Idaho. Next Anderson and Andy were in Las Vegas in anticipation of the Pacific Time Zone change. I got in a quick soak in the hot tub out on my deck and was back in the house to watch whatever would drop in the PST zone. I was quite disappointed that Anderson and Andy were gone and CNN was showing the EST ball drop in New York. So I turned in shortly after 3 am when I went to sleep with the help of a sleep story on my Calm app.  

I slept till 11:30 am so I missed church. I got up and had an omelet, fruit and milk for a late brunch. At 2:30 my Mexican Train friends arrived. We had suspended our monthly Mexican Train gatherings during COVID so we’re just getting back to playing. There are seven women in the group but one wasn’t feeling well so only six played today. We like this game because it’s fast moving, takes some strategy but doesn’t require a lot of concentration, leaving time to talk about politics, national affairs and local happenings. I came in third today. We finished the series a little before 5 pm. Three friends went home and the other three of us went to McCallister’s for our New Year’s dinner. I had a Rubin, cucumber and tomato salad and a Coke. I got back home around 6:30 and spent the rest of the evening changing my calendars, catching up on email and reading the news. Ordinarily I would have made my new year’s resolutions on Dec. 31 but didn’t get around to it this time. I was too busy fixing the Beef Burgundy and socializing with my friends.