Last night was the delightful occasion of the annual Glögg Fest, where my friends and loved ones are invited to eat, drink and be merry, Viking style, Venice style.
The night began with a stunning - I mean, STUNNING - sunset spectacularly coloring the skies overhead in brilliant neon. It set the stage for what is always one of my favorite nights of the year. After getting everything baked and prepared, it was time to light the fire, turn up the tunes and wait for guests to arrive.
It's always a situation that I should have way more room for, but somehow the squeeze-in seems to add to the coziness and warmth of the season.
I usually try to have Glögg pretty much right before I leave town, as a bit of a last hurrah for us here in Los Angeles, to see each other and make merry before we all scatter out about the world.
I'm actually just now done cleaning up and packing and about to zoom off to Minnesota myself, full of good cheer from last night.
It was a great bunch because it was a group gathered from across my diverse areas of friendships, so many people had never met, and bridges were built.
Many in attendance had also never before had glögg before, nor been to the Jam, so it was a good initiation to them ... given with the safety warning that glögg can indeed pack a good whallop.
With their first glögg, they also had their first cherry chip cookies (the overwhelming crowd favorite) and their first lefse (the Norwegian tortilla). All were accepted with a hearty SKÅL!
There were some friends I hadn't seen all year, and some friends I'd never met before. Some friends have been to every Glögg Fest on record, some had to miss it to travel, but all were most welcome and a complete blast to have over.
I rarely leave my cauldron of glögg, as it's kind of an on-going re-make to keep the batch going, so the kitchen very much becomes the congregating spot. It's fun to have the party have to keep coming to you to get re-fills, and that way you get to see and talk to everyone.
Laughter rang out over the town, as the place kept getting hotter inside and doors and windows had to be wide open (Sorry, neighbors! You're always welcome to join!). Call it our version of caroling.
Today was not only a glögg fog in our heads, but in Venice. The winter solstice we celebrated last night has ushered in the winter light. As I took my walk on the beach before departing (shortly) for the winter wonderland of Minnesota, I reflected on how beautiful it all is, here and there. I feel warm enough inside from all that goodness last night, and all the goodness inside of the people I love, that I probably won't even have to wear much of a coat back home. Probably.
End this crazy year feeling great about it, and about what is to come. I'll be back soon. Enjoy all, love all, Merriest Christmas to ALL! God Jul!