Glorious day by the coast

I mean, uh, it’s horrible and cold and you wouldn’t like it.  Yeah.

Well, none of the tourists believe me, either, and all the attractions (Barbara’s Fish Trap, for example) are very crowded.

The sky is blue, the air is warm, I’m wearing a tank-top.  Ben and I went for a walk at the Point, and I took my fleecy off.  I *never* take my fleecy off while walking up there, it’s too cold.  So this, today, is one of the five beautiful days we get per year.  In a month it’ll be foggy and cold, but for now the flowers are amazing (we counted 30 different types of flower blooming in our backyard), the sun is warm, and it’s just like summer.

We had Ben’s family over for brunch today, and we had all different yummy food.  We decided to make all the food ourselves, not do a potluck, so we picked yummy simple things.  Homefries, a frittata* (gruyere, mushroom, and scallions), braised greens (chard** and kale), a fruit salad (strawberries, mango, orange, and grapefruit), a bean salad, and something Sunset Magazine calls an “apple oven cake”, which I’ve made several times now and is super yummy (butter and brown sugar, apples and a little cinnamon, with an egg/flour/milk mixture to hold it together).  It was all a big hit, but the apple stuff was the biggest hit, and was definitely the easiest to make.  🙂  Oh yeah, and mimosas.  Except a bunch of us had orange juice-free mimosas, aka champagne.  Mmm, it was good.

We managed to prepare a lot of stuff last night, and get everything chopped and ready this morning, so we could just compile everything and cook it at the last minute when they were here.  The homefries took longer than we expected, and we were waiting for them to finish before starting everything else, but everything came together perfectly for us to sit down with all of the food ready (except the frittata, which was a little slow, so I guess it was only nearly-perfect).  It was so yummy.  And even though it seemed like a lot of food, everything was finished off except the homefries and bean salad. And the ingredients for a second apple oven cake.  So we’ll have those for breakfast tomorrow!

None of Ben’s family have been over since Ben finished my office, so I straightened it all up (no extra papers or boxes anywhere in sight!) and we showed it off.  It’s so nice and comfortable in there.  Everyone was very impressed with Ben’s handiwork.

Last night Ben and I thought to pull out the two of my mom’s paintings*** that I have, and we discovered that one of them looks wonderful in the room, so we’re going to hang it up.  The other is too dark (lots of black), so I think maybe I’ll trade it in for a different one, because there’s plenty of space for two on my wall.  And it’ll be nice to have Mommy art hanging in my office.  🙂

Other than that… I started writing a vampire story the other day.  I don’t do vampires, but I had a title that included vampires, so it had to be about vampires.

Recently I’ve noticed that I have trouble distinguishing between “I must continue working on story x so that I’ll finish it some day” and “I must only work on story x, to the exclusion of all other stories or writing”–the latter of which is incredibly stifling to me.  And then I wonder why I don’t want to write.  So, I’m trying to ease up on myself and write whatever I want… while keeping in mind that I have Story X which I’d like to be working on if I’m so inspired.  In other words, I must write in order to write.  BIC.

* How do you spell that? Firefox doesn’t like fritata, frittata, or fritatta.  How about frittatta? No, that can’t be it.  Google + wikipedia tell me it’s frittata.

** I’ve discovered I really like braised chard, whereas kale tends to be more tough even when braised.

*** You can see her art at her website, but neither of the two I have are up there so I can’t show them to you specifically.  My mom is so prolific that the website doesn’t even contain a tenth of all of her art. If we included all of her drawings, it might not even be one percent.  So, the likelihood of me having one of those is pretty small.  :-/

† And with a new update, WordPress + LivePress will properly cross-post daggers (†) to LiveJournal, so my footnotes should go more smoothly.  Yay!

Going to the Ballet – Coppelia

My mom and I went to the ballet Friday night.  We saw the Moscow Festival Ballet performing Coppelia.  I haven’t seen many ballets (Nutcracker and Swan Lake, mostly, in various incarnations), and I don’t think I’ve attended any before.

It was great fun.  The main female character got to dance and look pretty, of course, but she also got to be seriously annoyed at the male lead, and stomp around being angry.  Because they don’t talk, everything has to be explained through body language, very exaggerated so that the people in the back can see it, too.  I was impressed by the way that most of them kept smiling throughout the whole performance.  Don’t their faces start hurting?  Do you think they smile like that in their sleep, because their faces have frozen that way?

We were sitting in the third row, which meant that we could see them all very clearly, so it was easy to get lost in the details.  Like, noticing the lines drawn under their eyes so they would be visible from far away.  Or the braces on one woman’s teeth.  And the earring in one guy’s ear.  And dude, those men wear *tight* pants.  So I spent quite a bit more time than was really necessary wondering about underwear.  The women’s costumes were far less distracting.  We were also close enough to readily identify each of the ballerinas and danseurs, and notice when they switched places or did different things.  Like one of Swanhilde’s friends (that was her official description) also played the Doll, and we thought she was very good.

If we’d been sitting further back, it would’ve been easier to watch the ensemble instead of the individual dancers.

The music was canned, which probably shouldn’t be surprising.  But, if the audience clapped for too long, sometimes the next piece of music would start while we were still clapping.  And the ballerinas would have to start dancing, even though we were still clapping.  And then there’s a thing where the lead ballerina spins around in circles on one leg without putting the other down and without stopping, called fouetté en tournant.  It’s a show of skill, the more times you can spin the better you are.  With an orchestra, the orchestra will just keep playing that bit until she is finishes, but with canned music she can only spin as many times as the music allows.  (My mom counted: she spun 30 times.  Apparently to snobs 60 is note-worthy, and some ballerinas have spun as many as 130 times [wow!], though Wikipedia doesn’t say anything about more than 32.)

The story was really thin.  There was a two-page description of the story in the program which almost-kinda made sense, but the ballet itself only followed the description in the vaguest of ways.  My mom liked the third act best, which was the wedding scene, which was all dancing without really trying to tell a story.  I liked the second act, because some of the ballerinas and danseurs were meant to be automata, life-sized wind-up dolls that do a particular thing.  One was a Spanish fan dancer, who was very pretty, another was a medieval soldier with a pike, and there were a few more.  It was fun.


Ugliest Snowman ever?
Ugliest Snowman ever?

Today is the Family Fun Holiday Party at my company.  Apparently that means that all the craft supplies, gingerbread house makings, etc. are out.

So, here is  my contribution to the world of snowmen.  He looks a little mad, with his swirly eyes.  And I couldn’t find anything appropriate for a mouth.

If you were wondering, the gold glitter on his head was meant to be blond hair.  The blue glitter on his head, which looks kinda purple on my screen, was meant to be blue highlights.  Punk, or something.  I dunno.

And then came feathers.