Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This year, I'm in charge of scheduling the backstage crew (stage managers & runners) for the Nutcracker at B's ballet school. It's mostly straightforward--contacting the people who have volunteered (all parents are required to help with something), and trying to find the best arrangement of people & times. I just have one question for a certain parent: why on earth would you sign up for backstage crew if you have to work the first show weekend and will be out of the country for the second?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friends, Family, Gluttony, and a Little Excitement

If it's possible to eat too much good food, I think I've done it. Last night's Thanksgiving dinner was fun: as usual, we provided the basics, and our assorted guests brought dishes to share. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, dressing, mac & cheese, scalloped onions, green bean casserole, Tofurkey, squash soup, three kinds of cranberry sauce (two canned and one made by B), pumpkin pie, and apple crisp.

Today, Mom, Dad, my sister E, B, and I went on our usual Black Friday expedition. We don't believe in getting up early to hunt for bargains (if I really want to shop for bargains, I do it online). We meet in the late morning at an upscale shopping area (Union Square in San Francisco, Fashion Valley when we lived in San Diego, Eastview Mall in Rochester), and shop for a couple of things while enjoying the people and the stores. Today, E bought a pair of black pants, Mom got a lovely leather coat, B got a gold belt to go with her new dress (that was the hardest to find, since she's so skinny), and B also got some clothes. For lunch, we made our usual stop at the food court, where I always get the Korean BBQ spare ribs. (The second large meal of the holiday.)

The afternoon was a little more exciting than usual. As we were descending on the curved escalator to the first floor, we heard thumping noises behind us. All of us immediately assumed someone was falling down the escalator, and we all did the same thing: stepped to the side and grabbed the handrail with both hands (so we wouldn't be pushed over). Lo and behold, it was a purse snatcher, shoving people out of the way in his mad descent down the escalator, followed closely by a woman yelling "stop him!" At the bottom of the escalator, a male shopper tackled him, and when we left, the thief was being held down by two or three men, presumably awaiting mall security!

For dinner, DH and M joined us at Ton Kiang, our favorite Chinese restaurant in SF. We had another feast: scallion pancakes & potstickers to start with, Peking duck, Mongolian beef, Szechuan shrimp, Singapore noodles, spareribs in sweet orange sauce, asparagus saute├ęd with garlic, and sesame balls for dessert. I was so full that I gave half of my sesame ball (one of my favorites) to B!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Movie Night & Mom's Taxi Service

The family went out last night to see the new Harry Potter movie. Good movie, overall, but definitely part one of two. Can't wait for part two! B invited several of her friends to go along, but since we couldn't go to any of the early showings (B doesn't return from ballet class until 8:00 on Fridays), her friends' moms all decided the 9:00 show was too late for their daughters.

Today DH and I are running our usual Saturday taxi service. M was out the door at 8:15 to join the Scouts in Scouting for Food. B left with DH at 9:15 for her pre-ballet teaching assistant gig, and returned a little before 11:00. M was dropped off at our house around 11:30 (one fewer trip for me!), then B and I took off at 11:40 to get her to Nutcracker rehearsal. (Poor kid has a six-hour rehearsal today, in which she'll probably dance for about five minutes.) The rest of us are at home having a quick lunch, then we're off at 1:00 to take M to fencing. We'll be home around 4:00, need to pick up wreaths to sell for the Scout fundraiser, then B has to be retrieved at 6:00. Oh, and today's the Big Game at Cal, so dropping B off at the ballet school was entertaining. Hello, Stanford fans who were walking down the street in front of my car, have you ever heard of a sidewalk? Or at least moving to the side when a car comes up behind you?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cleaning and Planning for Turkey Day

Turkey Day preparations are under way! The house is mostly clean (a few things to do tomorrow morning), and my parents arrive tomorrow at lunchtime. Our garage fridge is occupied by a giant frozen turkey (I'm a day ahead of the usual schedule for defrosting). We're not expecting a lot of people this year (eleven so far), but we always get the biggest turkey we can find, since DH loves turkey sandwiches.

I've been using the turkey recipe in the Joy of Cooking (1975 edition) since I started cooking turkeys, and it's always worked for me. According to our invitation, this is the twentieth Thanksgiving dinner I've cooked. Turkey, sage dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy from a can (makes last-minute prep easier), traditional cranberry sauce from a can (both whole-berry and jellied), and pumpkin pie have been constants at every dinner. I sometimes throw in another vegetable dish, and our guests bring all kinds of interesting things.

I hope y'all have fabulous meal planned for next week, too!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snow White Photos

Current mental soundtrack: "Friendship" by Cole Porter

All six shows went well, with no major disasters. Occasional mishaps (several crashes were heard on the stage at Wednesday's preview), but overall it went quite smoothly. Here's a photo of our Duchess Dahlia:

And our light board operator:

Onward to holiday concerts and Nutcracker!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Snow White

It's Snow White production week at the middle school, so we've given up any pretense of family dinners this week. B has a small role (Duchess Dahlia) in the Ebony cast, and M is running the light board for the Crimson cast, so we have one kid in each of the six total shows. And, since we have two kids involved, I've been assigned to two committees: backstage and costumes. I am attending every single show, either backstage, in the costume room, in the audience, or in combinations of those.

DH and I saw the preview show yesterday afternoon. M did a fine job running the light board: in other words, we didn't really notice the lighting, which means nothing went wrong. It's a typical middle-school play: the handsome prince is a foot shorter than Snow White, the seven dwarfs are played by girls, and no one on the stage knows what to do when the kid on curtain duty misses a cue.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Scheduling Needs To Be Done Earlier!

It's November 1st, and I JUST received an announcement from B's choir teacher about the date of the winter concert. Naturally, it's on the same night as Nutcracker dress rehearsal. B has already been pulled from one of her Nutcracker performances because she's missing rehearsal this Saturday (she has a role in the school play, and was assigned to the matinee performance), and missing a dress rehearsal is grounds for removal from at least one more show. The last two years, the winter concert was the second Wednesday in December, so I had hoped that by not signing up for Nutcrackers that week (necessitated by my schedule and DH's schedule), we'd be covered for the concert. Looks like I guessed wrong...we're hoping that the choir teacher will be flexible about an alternate assignment.

We still have one potential conflict coming up--both B's ballet school and B's choir teacher have the afternoon of December 4th reserved, but neither one has a time! I can make an educated guess for choir (4:30 pm the last two years that M sang at the tree-lighting ceremony), but the ballet school won't tell us until the week of the rehearsal.