Family Time!

Last night my family had a wonderful time together. Hubby has been asking all season to go to some Christmassy performance. I resisted, having already attended three "winter" concerts. Finally I agreed to the Christmas Carol by Portland Stage company.

Before the performance, we drove into Portland for an early dinner. I used Google Maps and found a restaurant we’d never been to. (Portland is a serious foodie town. It is said that there are more restaurants per capita in Portland than any other US city.) We ended up at Hot Suppa! and I have to say that we had an amazing time.

The menu was eclectic: I had a falaffel salad, hubby had an amazing gumbo, largish boy got a three side platter with the most delicious baked beans, mac & cheese and corn bread muffins, and smallish boy got baked fried chicken and a waffle. The portions were large, the food was great, our waitress attentive and kind. I’m afraid you’ll think us pigs but I have to mention that we took the holiday plunge and ordered dessert. The boys shared a slice of buttermilk chocolate cream pie and hubby and I shared a chocolate bread pudding with bourbon sauce. Incredible!

Onto the show.

Yes, it was the Christmas Carol and yes, it has been done a million times but… 1) I hadn’t seen the performance since largish boy (now 11) was in my belly and 2) the script was very creative. The director took the Dickens’ novel and kept much of the book, including scene setting and narration. The ensemble created a Greek Chorus of sorts and the lead actors even narrated some of their action. It was very interesting and engaging. The actors played many characters throughout the play and the changes of costume and role were deft. The music came from a single accomplished pianist/percussionist whose performance transformed the mood of each scene. At the end, this was the last performance for this cast, they presented a young woman who was headed to college and had been in the production for eight years running, an award that will be available to young actors in the future. It was very moving indeed. 

We topped of the night with a trip to the new Trader Joe’s in Portland. Hubby is planning a paella for Christmas dinner, we had to stock up on ginger cats, and 3 Buck Chuck, and the boys picked out cannoli’s for dessert.

Here’s wishing everyone a very sweet and peaceful holiday season.

PS: In the days to come…more about my insanely busy semester and how I fared.

Holiday Boll Family Style

Chanukah Menorahs

On the eighth night of Chanukah we had some friends over for a potluck. Because it was both the last night of the holiday and Shabbat, there was much ceremony, singing, and lighting of candles. It was so nice to share the night with good friends and so nice to be reminded of just why we reloaded all those boxes and came traipsing back to Maine. I am Jewish and Hubby is not so as soon as the menorahs were put away for next year…

Christmas tree picking

We headed to the tree farm to pick out our Christmas tree. Now with many interfaith families there are some compromises. Our compromise is I say yes to the tree but Hubby has to say no to the Christmas lights outside. He hems and haws and teases me about how he’d really love a huge blow up Santa in our yard but actually, I think it lets him off the hook. Nothing to put up. Nothing to take down. Anyway… we had to try out a new tree farm because our usual one was closed for a "growing year." We marched up and down the aisles and nothing caught my eye. Really, I didn’t like the way they were trimmed. Too skinny and rounded in at the bottom. (Here’s a piece of Anna trivia: One summer I trimmed Christmas trees at a farm in New York state as a summer job. I was the only female on the crew. Let me tell you, that is not an easy job.) So we ended up getting the tree in the picture at an already cut place in Freeport.
Now it looks like this.

Notice the piano and ottoman barricade. It took about 10 minutes to realize that I don’t have enough skill as a dog trainer to get our mouthy puppy, Lucy to "leave it." Hubby reminded me, Anna, we just brought a tree into our house and hung a bunch of toys on it. What do you expect?
Hope you all have a great week. Happy Holidays.