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  • Writer's pictureJessy Tolkan

Happy New Year! Ringing in 2022... Day 40!

Happy New Year from Friess Lake! 40 days into recovery - and digging deep to find creative ways to keep things feeling interesting around here. Like much of the country, another NYE in the time of COVID...our mighty isolation pod of 3 Tolkans and an Aggarwal managed to transform Chateau Paradiso into quite the NYE celebration.

Here was the set-up...after a rousing game of Code Names at my parents house on December 30th, we decided the pod should spend NYE together. But how to make this feel different than the last 40 nights of hanging out?

  1. We each picked pieces of paper out of two separate bowls.

  2. In one bowl were names of 4 different rooms at Chateau Paradiso:

    1. Living Room / Fireplace Area

    2. Dining Room Table

    3. Downstairs Kitchen/Hangout Area

    4. TV Room

  3. In a second bowl were different food courses for the evening:

    1. Appetizers 1

    2. Appetizers 2

    3. Main Course

    4. Dessert

  4. The directions: Prepare your assigned dinner course, and create a theme that incorporates your room of the house, inclusive of a relevant playlist to listen to while your course is served.

Wow - the lengths we will go to in these difficult times to make things feel celebratory! Happy to report we had 100% all in participation, and all things considered a really wonderful NYE, with some fancy outfits to boot!

Appetizer Course 1

Location: Fire Place/Living Room

Host: Jessy

Theme: Italian Appetizers A to Z (overlooking "Lake Como")


Appetizer Course 2

Location: Downstairs Kitchen

Host: Raj

Theme: Welcome to Jessy & B's Dive Bar

Music: (Bucks game on in the background like a true sports/dive bar)

Menu: Mini Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup


Location: Dining Room Table

Host: Jim (aka Dad)

Theme: Classics from Around the World

Menu: Homemade Mushroom Soup (From Julia Child's Cookbook), Burek from Serbian Restaurant, Mapo Tofu & Dumplings

(As if he didn't choose every song, every time a new one played, my Dad remarked "WHAT A GREAT SONG!!!)


Location: TV Room

Host: Sherry (aka Mom)

Theme: TV trays to eat our desserts!

Game/Activity: We played Candy land & Chose our favorite dessert themed tunes from Sherry's Playlist

Menu: Cheesecake, Brownies, Cookies, Cheesecake Cupcakes (all from the best bakery in town, Simma's)

After an evening of an "in-home" progressive dinner, with so many delicious treats we watched Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen count down to midnight (2x), for the east coast and central time zone, and then got in our matching PJs and called it a night!

Health Report:

  • Enough energy to stay up til 1:00 AM!

  • Steering clear of booze for now (Drank several bottle of sparkling grape juice las night), and ready for 2022 to be the healthiest year on record for his 3x Bone Marrow Transplant SURVIVOR!

  • Both Raj's sister and my uncle both have COVID (staying intensely locked down and isolate - we will NOT let this monster get us...we've come too far in this recovery).

What I'm grateful for / New Year Intentions

  • When you've lived through cancer, and multiple bone marrow transplants, and watching those you love pass away, you don't take for granted watching the calendar turn to aNew Year. I'm very very very grateful to see 2022. I'm aware that this in and of itself is a privilege.

  • I'm so so so grateful for a family that is willing to go along with silly and playful ideas during this recovery - and not just to tolerate it, but to make me feel like they are actually enjoying it!

  • Big 2022 promises/intentions: Have LOTS of fun, stress less, SAY YES to all the adventures, take extra good care of myself, get mad less often, make the best possible use of this new immune system, remember everyday how damn lucky I am to be alive, love hard, get married, don't sweat the small stuff.

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Jan 03, 2022

You all are so dang cute! I LOVE these ideas - absolutely brilliant! Happy New Year, Jessy and fam!


Sam Dorman
Sam Dorman
Jan 01, 2022



Nolan Lehman
Nolan Lehman
Jan 01, 2022

Well done on the new year celebration! Wishing all good health in 2022!


Jan 01, 2022

I love this idea! Cheers to 2022! Xoxoxo

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