Meaghan and I attended the third annual SoftSource Consulting Christmas party on Friday. The party was hosted at Blue Hour (L’Heure Bleue) on the corner of 13th and Everett, right around the corner from the Rogue Ales Pub and one of my favorite restaurants: Le Bouchon. I’d never been to Blue Hour but it was easy enough to find and the valet parking made it painless to get in. The private dinner hall in which the party was being held has a separate entrance a little further down Everett from the main restaurant door. Having obtained directions from the concierge, we ascended the stairs, deposited our pair of white elephant gifts (thanks to Meaghan for the beautiful wrapping job) and began to mingle with the crowd. There were four wines available, a domestic and Spanish red, and two white wines. Having obtained a glass of the Spanish red, we began introductions. I was proud to introduce Meaghan to all of my coworkers and to meet many of their significant others for the first time. The first glass of wine was good. Just at the point I was about to set my glass down I heard “Refill sir?” Yes please! The night was off to a good start.
Mingling continued unabated, introductions occured, name soup ensued. It might require meeting on a few more occasions before I am able to solidify the name->face correlations of everyone we met that night within my cerebral cortex, so apologies to anyone whose name I temporarily misplace. Shortly thereafter, the announcement came that we were to take our places for dinner. The menu informed us that dinner would consist of a mixed greens salad appetizer followed by a selection from one of four entrees topped off with chocolate soufle. Discarding the vegetarian option on the entree list, we chose the New York Steak over the Snapper and Pork offerings, although we were later informed by both Ellen and Brian (sitting to our left) that they were both quite delicious. The steak was accompanied by a fantastic potato side that consisted of mixed layers of smashed potatoes and cheese. We’re still trying to identify the cheeses and figure out how to emulate the recipe.
As the crowd finished chasing chocolate soufle around their plates, Shaun announced that it was time to begin the white elephant gift exchange (the link explains the typical rules – note that SoftSource consider a gift to be frozen after it has been stolen twice). Meaghan and I made the fatal error of placing our gifts on the floor next to the somewhat crowded gift table (see first picture below), a mistake that resulted in them being two of the final gifts to be taken. Despite that fact they later proved to be quite popular, being stolen a couple of times each, so it all worked out OK. Laura took the dubious honor of choosing the most popular gifts of the night, resulting in her making multiple visits back to the gift table as each of them was stolen respectively.
The pictues below show (from left to right):
(1) Laura opening her first gift (a grill I stole later) (2) Me holding my stolen prize. (3) The full dinner hall as we sat to eat.
(4) John with his new bedpan. (5) Leslie opening her wine (the last time she’d see it). (6) Shaun reading out the first employee gift.
The white elephant giveaway was going well. John had received a new bedpan, leslie unwrapped her bottle of wine, and I had successfully stolen the grill from Annie who had already stolen it from Laura, thereby freezing the prize and making it mine. W00t! Interwoven with the white elephant prize selection, Shaun and Cheryl were running a second “employee only” prize handout. The white elephant gift action would pause periodically whilst an employee was called up to select a black envelope containing a mystery prize. I received two Regal Cinema movie tickets, which at current cinema ticket prices equates to about a $20 prize. Nice! Other gifts included certificates to Best Buy and Starbucks.
The second round of prize-swapping involved Leslie’s bottle of wine, which was stolen by Cheryl and then in turn by Brian. Cheryl appeared quite reluctant to part with it at first but the victory shots below depict the action fairly well, including Brian looking smug and Cheryl inspecting her new gift. The last two (bottom middle, bottom right) are of Leslie opening one of the bags we brought and Mark opening his first gift, disappointed that it wasn’t a second head scratcher. He later hunted down and stole the original head scratcher.
Nathan (picture 6 below) was lucky enough to receive a movie night in a box, consisting of a large sausage and a brand new copy of Brokeback Mountain. He was seen sneaking out shortly thereafter, presumably to avoid having his prize stolen.
The final collection of pictures show (from left to right):
(1) Shaun giving his speech. (2) Laura showing off her head massager. (3) Mark displaying the same head massager after stealing it.
(4) Kyle opening a bag of chocolates. (5) Amod admiring the stolen chocolates. (6) Nathan proudly displaying his copy of Brokeback Mountain.
All in all the party was a great success. The food was great, the wine was very enjoyable (and in plentiful supply), and the company was outstanding. It was a really nice way to celebrate my first partial year with SoftSource as well as a great opportunity to get to know more about the people I work with and meet their significant others.