Rochester, NY

8:38 PM

I type this with a raging sinus infection. The winter has grabbed me. I’ve been running around all over the place with the holidays and I guess it got me. Friends have been in from out of town. I saw Ryan who is now in Charlotte and Ted who is in Philly. I just got off the phone with my friend in Toronto. There may be a plan going into effect to get us up there for New Year’s. We’ll see how I feel.

Last night was another classic. My dad and I met Heidi a few weeks ago through one of his coworkers. She is from China and works as an importer. I am working on her website. She asked if a group of us would want to come over for a Christmas type party. She said no presents and food would be served. My mom and dad were supposed to go and I was in solo mode. The party started at 6 and as is the case with my dad, he was chomping at the bit to get out “on time.” Keys rattling and the asking of “you ready” rang out. My dad is on time and I am always a few minutes behind. We rolled in at around 6:10. I thought that was good for entrance purposes. I don’t know why, but I didn’t want to be the first one there. My mom was not able to go because she was feeling sick. She’s been sick off and on for a while. I had taken on a sneezing attack the day before, but was feeling OK.

My dad and I had prepared for a big party type thing. Neither of us are big fans of schmoozing with tons of people we don’t know. But we were glad to be at Heidi’s. She has a great energy about her. The smells of China emanated from the kitchen and into the foyer where I took off my shoes. I was glad to see that Rick and his wife were there first. Don and his wife pulled in and parked right behind us. We walked in, said hello and met Heidi’s brother in law, Joe. He flashed a big smile as we all were introduced.

I surveyed the house (I had been there before) and the kitchen table showed place settings for 10 to 12 people. I think my dad and I both were relived to know it was going to be a small group setting. We corked the bottle of wine Don brought, poured and sipped. It went down smooth. Bill and his wife came a few minutes later and the group took shape. There were 10 of us. Don, Bill, and my Dad all work together. I had met them on numerous occasions.

We all sipped on wine and talked about Christmas and asked about what was being cooked. Plate after plate was put on the table. I was in heaven. There was chicken and snow peas, beef and broccoli, pork, lo mien, shrimp and crab, beef and potatoes, salmon, and I think something else that is escaping me. We all passed it around and ate like kings and queens. Authentic Chinese can’t be beat. It turns out Joe works in a restaurant. We all ate and Heidi was quizzed about China and the people. We laughed and carried on like a group who had known each other for longer. After all of the different dishes had been passed, I looked down at my plate and saw it heaping two inches high. I didn’t really notice what I was doing, I just grabbed and passed. I ate it all though and even had seconds of the beef and potatoes. That was tasty, like a pot roast meat, but with different gravy. Rick and his wife brought éclairs which it seemed Joe hadn’t had before. I also had a good tangerine. Then I began to sneeze like a madman, but that didn’t damper me.

The plates were picked up and Heidi asked the question of me, “Do you sing?” I had seen a couple of microphones in the living room and guessed where she was going. In a nasal tone that I had just picked up, “Not really, not too well.” A couple of people chimed in that they could sing. I asked Heidi about her voice and she said she does. The next thing you know we all moved into the living room and the karaoke began. The wine kept flowing for most of us. Now, I don’t want to make it sound as if were drinking tons, we had sipped slowly. The mix of the wine and the company set most of us at ease. It must have been a good atmosphere to grab the mike and sing whatever song was on the screen. Heidi had a database of 25,000 songs. She also had a great voice. On the TV, the words came up, but there were also beautiful scenes, mostly of Europe. There were mountains and lakes and buildings. I stared at those as well as the words. We did the usual YMCA, there were some Beatle’s, some Frank, and many others that some knew and some did not. Joe got on the mike for what he said was a first, but I think he had done it before. After a minute or two, he relaxed and sang well. Heidi tried to sing Edelweiss, and she did a good job of it, but my Dad and the wine were kicking in with background on the other mike. Their voices did not blend well. He is low and she is not. She sounds good and he does not. He passed on his singing to me.

What was fun about last night is that it didn’t matter if you were good or not, you just did it. It’s like when you dance and lose the feelings of the eyes on you. When you can lose the eyes, it is invigorating. It doesn’t happen too often, but it happened last night. I sang if I had the mike or not. I didn’t know all of the songs, but I still carried on. I was definitely the youngest person there, but that didn’t matter either. I just swayed and sang out in my nasal awful voice. If you had video and audio of the night, you could make some money on bloopers, but we didn’t care. I don’t think many of us planned on still being there at 10, but there we were, trying to decide what song to pick next. I reaffirmed my inability to sing, but I also learned that if you know you stink and still do it, it can be fun. Just don’t look for me and my dad on the World Karaoke tour anytime soon.