Monday, December 29, 2008

Almost a Teenager

M turned twelve today. I can't believe he's only a year away from being a teenager! We spent part of the day at the San Diego Zoo with both DH's family and mine. We managed to sneak a birthday cake into the cooler this morning without M noticing, so we were able to thoroughly embarrass him at lunchtime with our singing.

Dinner was at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants: Fidel's, in Solana Beach. B and I split a chimichanga with an extra side of rice. I'm afraid to climb on the scale after all of the food I've been eating this last week!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Last Shopping Day Before Christmas

And all through the mall,
Many creatures were stirring,
But it wasn't bad at all!

DH and I have never been to the mall on Christmas Eve before, but somehow December got away from us this year, so we had a few things left to pick up today. We were expecting a zoo, so I actually volunteered to get out of bed early (early for me, that is), in hopes of beating the crowds. It wasn't as bad as we had expected: although there were people circling the lots in hopes of getting parking spaces close to the stores, we just went to our usual corners of the different malls we visited, and pulled right into parking spaces. The longest line of the day was the one at the grocery store, and even there we had no trouble parking. (I chatted with a guy who was retrieving carts, and he said that we arrived at the right time: earlier in the day, people had been circling for 10-15 minutes before finding a place to park).

Now it's time to wrap those last few gifts, and get the stockings ready. Our niece and nephew are also spending the night here at their grandparents' house, so I don't think any of the kids are going to fall asleep anytime soon. Maybe "Santa" can sneak those stockings out sometime before midnight...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Whish! Whoosh!

Current mental soundtrack (and source of the title): "Angel on a Cloud" from Angels are Everywhere, by Daniel Pinkham

The holiday craziness reached its peak here last week.

On Wednesday, the handle fell off of the toilet in the master bath. I took a photo of my temporary wire replacement for this blog, but I downloaded it to the wrong computer, and can't get to it right now. I thought it would have been a good symbol of how busy our week was--no one has had time to go to the hardware store for a new handle, so we're making do with a piece of wire.

On Thursday, M and I both came down with a virus that's been making its way around the schools here. M spent the evening on the couch, but I was scheduled to work B's dress rehearsal and learn the ropes for backstage. Since this was my first show working backstage, I didn't think it would be a good idea to skip the dress rehearsal and just show up for the performance. The other moms on the crew took pity on me, and I spent the rehearsal huddled in a corner of the stage, watching everyone else work around me.

On Friday, I spent the day in bed. I missed B's choral performance (the assembly was in the morning, before I staggered out of bed). In between picking up kids from school, I tried to run one errand, which ended up taking a looooong time. I circled the parking garage for ten or fifteen minutes before finding a space, then had to work my way through the crowds at the store. I was exhausted by the time I was finished! B had a Nutcracker performance Friday night, so DH took her in while I rested some more.

On Saturday, B danced in two shows, as a soldier in the battle scene. Our family watched the matinee, then DH and Matt headed home to host a party for a visiting job candidate, while I stayed with B to work backstage. Since I wasn't available to cook this week, DH ordered pizza from Zachary's Pizza for the party. It was weird coming home to a party in our house, but at least B and I got some leftover pizza for a snack.

On Sunday, B had her last Nutcracker for the year, and I worked backstage again. Afterwards, B went off to a slumber party at L's house, and I packed for our trip.

On Monday, we picked up B from L's house, and were on the road to San Diego at 8:00 am. We arrived at DH's parents' house around 3:30, and have been relaxing here ever since. Internet access is not good here (dial-up, or sometimes if I sit in a certain corner of the house, I can pick up a neighbor's unprotected wireless signal), so I probably won't post much until we get to my parents' house next week.

Today, B and I are going to see the Nutcracker at the Civic Theater. This is the California Ballet production (the school B started ballet classes at, before we moved to the Bay Area). Should be fun! Afterwards, B and I are going to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (she still hasn't decided between Spices Thai Cafe and The Fish Market), then we're heading to a PWC rehearsal for the evening.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let It Snow

DH took a photo on the way to work this morning:

Lunchtime now, and it's still only 36 degrees outside, according to my weather widget.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Almost Done

Three concerts and one Nutcracker down, one concert and one Nutcracker to go before the weekend's over. Next weekend is four Nutcrackers, then we're done for the month.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Angels Are Everywhere

Current mental soundtrack: "Angels Are Everywhere" by Daniel Pinkham

I think I'll go back to Christmas-tree cookies next year--angels are a lot of work! Last night I did the faces, hands, dress, wings, and halos in frosting. I dusted the halos with a little bit of gold luster dust, which gives them a nice metallic look. I was thinking of leaving them that way, but B took a look at them after school today and declared that they HAD to have hair and faces. So, we grabbed the food markers and got to work. B did the ones with brown hair, and I did the ones with black hair.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Angels By the Dozen

It doesn't feel like Christmas around here unless I'm frantically turning out dozens of cookies. B's ballet school requires each family to donate treats for the Nutcracker, and both Voci and Sacred & Profane need treats for their receptions, so I try to bake the same thing for everyone, and time all my donations for the same weekend. This year it's going to be angel cookies, as the Voci concert theme is fire, angels, and peace, and the Nutcracker has little angels in it. Yes, I know I could just bake some brownies from a mix (and that would probably be the smart thing to do, given my time constraints at this time of year), but they wouldn't be as pretty or fun as the decorated cookies.

Baking at this time of year does require some advance planning. Since I don't have any rehearsals on Tuesday or Thursday this week, those have been set aside as my baking and icing nights, respectively. This is what my dining table looks like right now, with eleven dozen angels waiting to be decorated:

Naturally, since I had everything carefully scheduled, something else came up. This week's was M's choir party, which turned out to be TODAY, rather than tomorrow as I was hoping. Since there was no hope of having any angels iced in time for second period today, I whipped up three dozen Christmas trees yesterday afternoon. They're not fancy--just sugar cookies (leftover dough from the angels that I put in the fridge), sprinkled with green sugar before baking.

Next week will be the second round of cookies. Holiday gifts for all kinds of people: the kids' teachers, their piano teacher, the mailman, and the family members with whom we've agreed not to exchange gifts with this year. And an extra tin or two, because I'm sure I've forgetten someone on that list!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Current mental soundtrack: "The Shepherd's Farewell," by Hector Berlioz

It was cold yesterday! Well, cold for our area of California, at least. Whenever we have "cold" spells, I take great comfort in looking up the temperature where we used to live, in Rochester, New York.

When I picked up B from school a little past noon (it was a minimum day), it was only 44 degrees outside and cloudy. B is a child who is NEVER cold (wears a T-shirt all year round), but she came out of her classroom and promptly stopped to put on her sweatshirt. Last night, the thermometer says it went down to 32 degrees at our house, and DH reported ice on the dog's water dish this morning. I'm glad we (meaning DH, of course) wheeled my lime tree inside for the winter earlier this week!

Oh, and yesterday's low in Rochester was 11 degrees (according to, so I guess I can't really complain about life in California :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Current mental soundtrack: "Psalm 122" by Arvo Pärt

The first holiday performance weekend is over with. Yesterday, B & M sang at the local tree-lighting ceremony with their respective school choirs, then the whole family headed in to Berkeley to attend the Voci concert.

Today (in addition to the usual laundry and raking and vacuuming), B and I hung the stockings, put up some outdoor lights, and wrapped the first round of gifts. I had put icicle lights on our white picket fence earlier this week, but B really wanted colored lights, so today we wound a couple of strands around a tree in the front yard.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dress Shopping

Yesterday, B and I went shopping for a new holiday outfit for her. It was actually less traumatic than I expected, given that she has previously stated her distaste for empire waists, short skirts, long sleeves, ruffles, and anything too warm. We started at Tarzhay, and didn't find anything suitable, so we headed off to JC Penney. Wonder of wonders, we found two dresses in her size that she was willing to try on, and she decided the one I picked out looked better on her than the one she picked out. It does have long sleeves, but she was willing to accept that in a holiday dress. Now we're negotiating when exactly she's going to wear it. The Nutcracker performance we're attending is definite, but that's just one occasion. I feel that she should wear the dress more than once before she outgrows it, so we agreed on Christmas Eve (but not Christmas Day, for some reason), and possibly a concert that she's attending (although it looks like it won't work for logistical reasons). Now we just need to work out what she's going to wear for tomorrow's outdoor tree-lighting concert.

If you're anywhere near the Bay Area, come hear me sing this weekend and next! (Concert listing at right)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Conspiracy Theory

Current mental soundtrack: "The Angel" from Rachmoninoff's Six Choruses

On Monday night, after S&P rehearsal, I had a close encounter with a pedestrian. She was wearing dark clothing, and crossing at an intersection with no lights. By the time I saw her in my headlights, I had to slam on the brakes, and she started sprinting, so we managed to miss each other.

Tuesday night's close encounter was with a cyclist, riding after dark, who didn't stop for the stop sign at a confusing intersection where I was trying to make a left turn. (It was one of those four-way stops where the streets are misaligned.)

At this point, I was wondering if I needed to get my eyes checked, but Wednesday's close encounter proved that there's simply a conspiracy against me this week. It was broad daylight, and I had just picked up M's carpool at the middle school. A student waiting to cross the street must have not seen me coming: as soon as there was a break in oncoming traffic, he started running across the street, right in front of me.

I wonder how many people are going to leap in front of my car today...