I Had a Lot of Help from Jack Daniels

Let’s face it.  Most holidays are messy.  As kids move away and families grow, just coming up with a date to have dinner during the holidays can be excruciating.  Throw in the over-the-top Christmases that so many of us insist on, and we’re all just one horseman short of an apocalypse.  That said, I LOVE over-the-top Christmas parties, and in the end I think we look back on the craziness with a rose-tinted fondness.  I am always pushing myself to throw bigger and better parties so that guests will walk away feeling happy and re-energized, especially during the hectic Christmas season.  Keeping up that energy drains me by New Year’s, but if my efforts can give just one person a memorable experience, I feel fulfilled.

Of course not only am I known for throwing big parties, but I’m also known for having too many irons in the fire.  My interests span the gauntlet of unconventional hobbies and sports, and this past week, all while trying to raise our son with fervent intention which is a full-time job in itself, all of my interests and hobbies converged into a whirlwind of a week.

So what did I do this past week you ask? In short I hit Philadelphia and D.C. for two shows in less than 24 hours, saw the Liberty Bell & Independence Hall again, took She-Ra to a local boys’ school for a falconry presentation after reading the book the presentation was based on, worked with some agents to start booking our 2017 lineup, prepared for a big Christmas party, threw said-Christmas party, and attended another.  Admittedly I overdid it.  This happens once or twice a year when I take on more than I can handle in a short period of time, but in the end, it always comes together even if it’s not quite as I’d envisioned it.  I want to do it all, and I’m not sure that will ever change.  In fact, I hope it doesn’t.  I hope I never lose the desire to go big or go home!

Seeing my two favorite bands twice in less than 24 hours was incredible and stopping for a quick peek at the Liberty Bell and a tour of Independence Hall with my awesome friends made it even more unforgettable.  Last time I stood in the Assembly Room I cried– sobbed uncontrollably actually.  This time I managed to maintain most of my composure– only a couple of tears.  Places like these are so very powerful though.  They really are worth seeing.


Unfortunately our decision to stop in D.C. and catch the show we’d just seen in Philly caused us to hit some terrible weather on our way home, and instead of getting home around 2:00 AM Thursday morning which would have been bad enough for this 30-something, we ended up getting home at 5:30 AM.  Big shout out to Jonathan for getting us home safely nonetheless.

I caught a couple of hours of sleep, then She-Ra and I met up with my sponsor to head to Elkins for a falconry presentation at a local boys’ school.  I was exhausted, but getting to talk falconry to a group of kids who seemed genuinely intrigued by the sport was very rewarding.  I was honored to be invited to participate in such a presentation, and I think we were able to make a positive impression, especially when She-Ra pooped in the floor, and the boys got to examine it.

After She-Ra’s presentation, it was time to switch gears and focus on the upcoming Christmas party.  I spent hours making lists and schedules and finishing up the games.  My Dad came to the rescue in finishing the board for the Box of Lies game after I dropped that ball at the last minute, Bronson and our neighbor Adam made some awesome new road signs, my friend Cheryl went shopping for ingredients and spent an entire day preparing half of the food after she volunteered to split the food prep list with me, and our housekeeper and all around glue-that-holds-this-house-together Angie shined up the house, moved furniture, prepped the guest rooms, and prepped for serving.  My mom and Bronson took turns watching Gunner so the rest of us could focus on coordinating the party.

The day of the party my friend Amy and her mom Sue prepared a couple dishes to add to the menu, I laid out food areas and set up the favor table, Bronson’s mom Debby prepared a gorgeous fruit arrangement, and by go time we were in business.  Somehow we managed to pull mostly everything together even after I lost all the cards we worked so hard on for The Whisper Challenge.  I like to think that between the wonderful entertainment provided by musicians Adam Moyer and Kiara Williams, the art exhibition featuring the work of sculptor Andrew Thorne, the sweet photo booth brought to us by photographer Shanda Hoover, the food that was served, and the drinks that were enjoyed that everyone had a great time chilling together.

The next day after everyone had gone, and I opened the gracious thank you cards and hostess gifts which included a couple of lovely bottles of wine, a thoughtful Christmas ornament, and an Ina Garten cookbook, I knew in my heart that the things we’re doing here at McNemar House are good– that we’re bringing arts and culture in the funnest way possible to this little rural town.  The icing on the cake– a couple of thank you emails from our wonderful patrons.  Your words mean so much to me.  To all of you who reached out to show your thanks, THANK YOU.  Thank you for helping us to cultivate an appreciation for the arts here in Buckhannon, WV.  Here’s to 2017!

*** NOTE TO SELF *** Next year… next year I will give myself an uninterrupted week for party prep– unless my favorite band is within driving distance.


  • You are a fantastic hostess. Your party this weekend was seamless, beautiful. The design of your home allows a houseful of guests to feel as comfortable as if they are at an intimate dinner. You and Bronson possess the gift of hospitality. Here is wishing you much joy as you bring joy to others in the months, years ahead. Merry Christmas!

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