Happily, this holiday season allowed for a bit of time to see friends. Our annual December bookclub met at Chris' house - she's a remarkable hostess. In addition to serving us all dinner, she also commissioned cakes of some of our reads from the past year:
We always do an ornament exchange, and I made the mistake of handmaking an ornament the first year I joined the club. It naturally became a thing, so this year I learned how to make Swedish advent stars and made one out of the opening pages of "A Christmas Carol". (As you will see with the upcoming crafting post, I have been absolutely terrible about photographing my products this season.)
Lisa invited me to join her ballet group for a viewing of The Nutcracker when one of their regulars couldn't attend. We had dinner first at The Corner Office (decent food, slow service). The ballet was good, and they had changed up quite a few parts since the last time I saw it there.
Speaking of Nutcracker, Rachel found a terrific new version by the Mariinsky on youtube in her annual holiday ballet bingeing. It's worth a look, if only to enjoy the bobble-snow costumes and the synchronization of the Spanish boys at 51 minutes in.
Tammy and I also (miraculously) found a jointly free evening, so we headed downtown to try The D Bar. You can tell it was a good meal when my travel instincts kick in and I start photographing the food:
|Fried chicken and waffles with sweet potato fries and Tammy's burger in the background.|
Not pictured: the bacon-wrapped dates that made for a delicious appetizer!
|Dessert: Churros with ice cream and Tammy's apples and waffles in the background|
We drove around a bit checking out some outrageous Christmas light displays, including this music-synced one:
Tammy lent me her copy of The Holiday for the weekend, and Rachel and I enjoyed it at the Masons one night after the kids were in bed. It's pretty mindless.
Rachel, Ben, and I joined a couple from my ward, Kristen and Kevin, to see the final installment of The Hobbit at the Alamo. In a Pavlovian twist, when the Shire theme played over the end credits, it suddenly felt like Christmas to me for the first time this season.
Rachel and I also went to see Into the Woods at the Alamo on New Year's Eve. I don't think it will convert anyone who's not already a fan, but I liked quite a lot of it. The staging of "Agony" was so over-the-top and outstanding that it almost makes up for the stupidity of the wolf's costume design.