Party food… and angry tfp.

This post has a happy part and an angry part.

Jac’s 40th birthday party food. My sister Juji and her boyfriend Jay-Shian were a fantastic help, otherwise I would’ve had to organise the food on my own, which would have been quite tricky. Juji assembled the cold hors d’ouvres and Jay was in charge of the oven and hot finger food. I was the cocktail waitress and brought platters of food around the party. The hot savoury finger food was all homemade by the birthday girls (RHand Jac’s mums also helped with the cooking, as did RH’s sister). We had some really delicious things to serve up. The party guests seemed to really enjoy it all.

Juji made these, with Jay the official slicer of smoked salmon. L-R: pate on mini toast, cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers on mini toast. The smoked salmon ones have been sprinkled with black pepper.

Pate on mini toast, cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers on mini toast

RH’s mum and sister made these chicken coconut bites, which we served cold with tomato sauce for dipping. The recipe for these came out of the Australian Women’s Weekly Finger Food cook book.

Chicken coconut bites

Another round of mini toast savouries made by Juji. L-R: more cream cheese, smoked salmon and caper mini toasts, corned silverside, horseradish cream, sweet gherkin pickle and a sprig of parsley on mini toasts and cream cheese, sundried tomato and capers on mini toasts.

More mini toast savouries

These mini sausage rolls were made by KO and were the big hit of the evening. Of course, we served them with tomato sauce.

Mini sausage rolls

KO also made these very tasty nacho meatballs.

Nacho meatballs

RH’s sister and mum provided these vol-au-vents with tuna and corn filling. Served toasty from the oven, they went down very well with the party guests.

Vol-au-vents with tuna and corn filling

Jac’s mum made bacon and egg pies, which went like hot cakes.

Bacon and egg pies

Mini pizza swirls, made by RH’s mum and sister. The recipe for these also comes out of the Australian Women’s Weekly Finger Food cook book.

Mini pizza swirls

This is one of the platters of hot savouries (mini pizza swirls, bacon and egg pies and rissoles) I took around the party.

Mixed platter of hot savouries

We also had a temporary round of healthy food – crudites, served with a sweet chilli and cream cheese dip, which Juji made up on the spot in 2 minutes, using 3/4 of a tub of cream cheese (lightly microwaved to soften it) and a couple of tablespoons (approx) of sweet chilli sauce. I must say cream cheese and sweet chilli are not one of my preferred combinations, but people seemed to really love it!

Crudites with sweet chilli and cream cheese dip

Juji and Jay, if you’re reading this, thank you thank you thank you for helping out. It was a mammoth effort considering Juj and Jay were on their feet working all day, and still agreed to come along and work with me in the kitchen. I’m afraid they probably didn’t have a very good time, being overworked and exhausted, but all I can say is how immensely grateful I am that they came and were at my side when I needed them most.

My brother (in a lovely hawaiian shirt) and his wife gave me a lift home around half-past twelve, which saved me $30 (our estimation, could be more or less) for a cab. I was very tired, having been at the party house earlier helping get stuff ready. I left Jac there to keep partying till the wee small hours. The DJ they hired was prepared to keep playing music until 6am (unless the cops came a-visiting first!) and Jac and her friends are real party animals. As I write this now, at quarter to 9am it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them are still sitting around chuggalugging bourbons. I gave Jac a fond kiss good-bye and told her to stay there today as long as she still felt seedy, so I don’t think I will see her for a fair few hours yet!

I’ve never been into parties – because I don’t drink alcohol, I rapidly get irritated and uncomfortable as people around me get drunker. I see talking to drunk people a waste of time as they tend to not remember the conversations later. Also I’m not into being pawed by over-affectionate pissed blokes, which does happen occasionally. Last night, for example, some guy asked my name and held out his hand, which I thought was a shake-hands kind of thing, but then he didn’t want to let it go. He was friendly enough, I didn’t feel threatened or anything, but he had this strange expression and seemed quite prepared to just hold on to my hand indefinitely. I ended up (politely) wrestling it out of his grip, and later as I came round with another platter of food, he said regretfully to me “I hear you’re married”. Another woman who had been introduced to me earlier (whom I presume told him who I was) said “Well, she’s not, really” to which I said “I’m as good as” and got the hell out of there. Oh, and there were these two slurring blokes who kept asking me where I was from. Normally I give people who ask that question the smart-arse response, which is the suburb I live in, rather than my country of origin, which is what they are alluding to 99.9999999% of the time when they ask that question, but I felt that if I responded and continued any sort of conversation with them I’d end up getting really crabby (and I had my happy waitress face on). So I just smiled and didn’t say anything. They called out “Korea? Japan?” (they obviously had poor asian-country-of-origin identification skills) and I walked away and busied myself serving more people. They must’ve been drinking way waaaaayyyy earlier in the day, as they were just about falling over, and their attempts to get a carrot stick and dip were like clumsy slow motion – the bowl of dip and the crackers almost got swept right off the serving plate by their uncoordinated digging around in the dip bowl.

I usually send Jac off to parties with her friend MT (who was one of the birthday girls) as her date, while I stay home. Of course, as this was a special occasion and a big, big event which required a fair amount of organisation I knew I had to be there. Jac asked if I could help with the food and I was happy to do so, as I knew it was an essential part of the evening. I know it took a great weight off Jac’s mind knowing that Juj, Jay and I were organising the food. I did enjoy being waitress for the evening too, reminded me of my days working in hospitality. It’s like an acting gig really, acting the waitress, all smiley and sociable. It was fun, and I liked seeing people’s eyes light up whenever I turned up with more delicious food for them. Maybe I am secretly a feeder (sssshhh, I didn’t say that!).

Controversial Bitching Time.
However, I was furious and in the midst of an angry meltdown when Juj and Jay arrived because the photo slide show which was supposed to have been set up and tested well ahead of time had not been. There I was, as the first guests were arriving, left to get the damn thing working. When I gave the slide show to um, *someone* a few weeks ago, I told them to please please test it out on the setup well ahead of time, because if there were any problems we would need to know asap so we could get them sorted out. But of course, that had not been done. The s-video cable which was to connect the projector to the computer was there, but I had to get two tall guys to help me readjust it so that it was actually long enough to connect to the pc, which was, incidently, still in the study and had to be untangled from a mess of cables, unplugged and brought out. Had the setup been tested beforehand, I would not have been the one to discover, as party guests were arriving, that the wireless keyboard and mouse were stuffed. I could’ve brought a corded mouse with me to use for the night – seriously, who the fsck carries a mouse in their backpack with them to a party unless they know it’s needed for something? I don’t know if it was a battery problem (of course, there were no spare batteries available – well, perhaps we can blame me for not bringing spare batteries for a setup that should have been tested beforehand, thus eliminating the need for me to secondguess things like the need for spare batteries), or perhaps the DJ’s equipment was interfering with the wireless signal (there was nowhere else to put the computer stuff for the slide show other than next to the DJ – of course, once again, had the setup been tested beforehand bla bla bla you get the idea).

The projector and the pc and the party were not at my house. All I had been told I had to do was provide the damned slide show, which I did, weeks ago. The cabling and electronics were being set up by *someone* else whose house, pc and projector it was, not me. Of course, if it had been me to do it I would’ve not left it to the last minute. Actually, the slide show may have not even been set up at all if Jac had not asked what was happening with it, as when we arrived around 6pm to finish blowing up balloons and set up the drinks area etc etc and it was apparent that there had been nothing done about the slide show.

So there we were, Jac, me and a couple of others, rushing to get it setup. The white cloth that was supposed to be hung up for the projection to display onto had not been, so we had to find it, scramble with some electrical tape and a ladder and stick it up there. Anyway, because I couldn’t get the mouse or keyboard to work properly and there was no corded mouse or keyboard available (yes yes let’s blame me for not thinking about bringing a corded mouse and keyboard with me to the party just in case something that was supposed to have been done had not been done bla bla).

The best I could do was get it playing in Windows Media Player – but as I couldn’t move the mouse I couldn’t move the mouse pointer off the centre of the screen (unplugging the mouse did nothing, reseting the mouse and receiver did nothing, swapping the batteries did nothing, and restarting the pc did nothing), nor could I physically maximise the image to display fullscreen. The keyboard was working erratically so even a laborious use of the tab and enter keys was not possible. Believe me, I tried everything. So I was very unhappy to have the slide show with a frigging mouse pointer in the middle, with the ugly blue WMP borders around the pictures. It should not have been like that. I could not even set Media Player to loop/repeat the slide show. Throughout the night, I ended up having to open and shut the dvd drive to get the damned slide show to start over whenever it finished (in between serving food with a smile on my face). Fsssck!

I suppose the party guests for the most part didn’t know any better and didn’t care what the slide show looked like (though computer/video literate people, if there were any present, may have thought it looked like amateur crap), but that’s not the point. When I do something I like to do it properly – I’m not into half-assed jobs. *&*#%$^&!

By the time I walked away from it to join Juj and Jay in the kitchen we were running behind schedule – the oven had not been turned on (so let’s blame me for not doing that earlier – I got distracted by other things obviously, other things which should not have been other things) and I was very very angry and ready to break stuff. But I didn’t break anything, and I didn’t want to make Juj and Jay feel uncomfortable and stressed (well, more so. When they walked up to me earlier I’d been swearing my head off at the mouse. I’m sure they were thinking “Why the fsck did we say we’d do this? Aha, but they came through and did what they promised to do!) so I tried to push my immediate anger into the back of my mind and concentrate on the food. I think I convinced the party guests that I was a happy waitress – perhaps if any of them had seen me earlier struggling with the slide show they may have assumed I’d made myself happy with drugs or alcohol.

This party had been in the planning for months. We had party meetings where everything that needed to be organised was identified, and people took responsibility for various tasks that needed to be done. The slide show fiasco should not have happened, and I suppose my reaction was like that of an artist who has created something of quality, but then at the last minute, has the display quality of their work compromised. All of the birthday girls had matching black t-shirts and they’d made me one that said “DIRECTOR” but I was so mad I ripped it off and put on my own top instead. I did not want to be associated with that piece of shit slide show, which should have looked so much more professional.

OK, so the world would not have ended if the slide show hadn’t been shown at all, but 1) I know some of the party guests had been told about it and they were really looking forward to it; 2) it was something that was planned, why should it be abandoned simply because someone had not done what they were supposed to? Pretty pathetic reason not to do it; 3) I felt upset, I suppose, that all the time I’d spent on creating a show for party (which the girls really really wanted) would just go down the toilet – I was not prepared to accept that. If there had been a disaster beyond anyone’s control, like a power failure or torrential rain or illness, I would’ve been ok – stuff like that can’t be helped. But not this situation. If for whatever reason, *someone* could not get the thing setup and was not able to test things out well before (or could not be bothered? I don’t know), *someone* should have communicated this to the party committee so it could have been sorted out well and truly before the party guests began to arrive. Anyway, I don’t know if anyone from the party group actually comes to this site. If you are reading this you are probably upset at this rant, but I’m just telling how it was. I hate, really HATE being let down by people. I hate feeling like I can’t trust anyone to do things they’ve said they will do.

I’ve had to write about this here now as I was unable to unleash my anger at the individual(s) concerned at the party at the time. I would have dearly loved to, but I wasn’t about to metaphorically speaking take a squat and do a big dump all over the mood of the party. That’s a major problem I think, in many so-called friendships. People aren’t told when they let others down, and so they carry on thinking everything is fine and dandy, when they have not behaved acceptably and need to be told that they have done the wrong thing. I had to bite my tongue last night, and I don’t know if I will get a chance to speak my mind about this to the individual(s) concerned. I’m not trying to cause trouble or bust up friendships, and if I get a chance to talk about this I will do so calmly and without swearing or raising my voice. It’s not about attacking people or screaming at them, it’s about just telling them. It’s about making them accountable. I just think that when people are never told that they’ve fscked up they will keep fscking up, thinking that they have done nothing wrong, or thinking that they can keep getting away with it.

So, if any of the party girls are reading this, I was 100% happy to organise the food, and I enjoyed doing it. I was just very frustrated and angry about the slide show fiasco, which I feel did not need to happen in the way that it did. I won’t repeat myself anymore – you should well and truly have the idea by now. There were other things that did not go according to what was articulated, planned and agreed upon, which I won’t go into – I suppose the slide show thing was like the final straw.

Anyway, although I got home around 1am I didn’t sleep very well.

I’ve had a post-party sushi breakfast (honey chicken and teriyaki chicken Jac brought home from her shopping trip on Saturday), and I think I might go back to bed and try again to get to sleep.


Oh yes… and this is my blog and I can rant if I want to.

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