Saturday, December 13, 2008

Taptaptap - is this thing on?

OK, Mom, you've been WHERE?? Because you know, we cats read a lot of blogs, and we were just shy of crossing you off our list....

Yes, yes, Evangeline, you're right and I apologize. It's like - when you've been on vacation, it takes a while to get back in the groove. November was such a whirlwind, what with the novel and all, and just one thing came along after another, and -- well, just in time for the Chaos that is Holidays, I'm settled back in. (Operative word: "back".)

Our lovely Christmas tree was delivered by my friend (and former boss) Jerry, as he does every year. His in-laws keep a tree farm up by Antigo, and when they come down for Thanksgiving they always bring about 100 trees, set them up in Jerry's yard and sell them. We have a standing order, and every year they come by with an absolutely perfect tree after Thanksgiving - it's the right height for our room, beautifully tapered, wonderfully fragrant. As always, it's standing unadorned for a while. Part of it is to celebrate the pagan meaning of the Winter Festival and the evergreen, and part of it is that we wait a few days to bring up the ornaments from downstairs, &c.

I've started off the holiday season this year by attending the annual Tudor Dinners at our Memorial Union on campus. (Thanks, Donna!) It was Donna's idea, and we made an evening of it. The plan was for her to come over and I could drive us both. (Only need to park one car - and she's unfamiliar with Madison.) We'd go to the dinner, return home and she'd stay overnight, so we could have an extended "knittin' night - slumber party", as neither of us had to be at work before noon the next day.

The event is a medieval-flavored dinner, with entertainment by a great chorus; the servers are wearing stylized medieval tabards and caps, and the meal is divided into "courses".
The tickets said the program started at 5:30, so we got the car tucked in and arrived right on the minute. The Main Lounge had long tables of hors d'oeuvres, subdued lighting, and small tables to sit at, so we hung up our coats and investigated.

Oh, I DO love me some fancy little nosh-y things. This was about as nice an array as I've seen. There were little meatballs with a cranberry-barbecue sauce, and a tray of antipasto (yummy little pickled mushrooms among other things); there were various vegetables and dips - and my favorites: rumake, which are bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, broiled -- and little tartlets made with apple, almonds and bleu cheese filling. They were delicious! It was all very elegant, too, and I must report that I only had eight (I'm kidding) TWO little plates - simply because we weren't sure what the supper entailed and I didn't want to spoil my appetite. NOTE: I'm going to try those little tarts, I think, for our Christmas day evening; you can buy those lovely little phyllo tart cups to bake, and it seemed to be minced apples, broken slivered almonds and bits of bleu cheese. Even though I did stop at two modest plates........I did have a bunch of few rumake, because they're very fussy-mussy to make, so I really enjoyed the fact that someone else made 'em.

As it turned out, the dinner was lovely! At the beginning they sang "The Boar's Head Carol" and carried in a large bedecked (papier-mache) boar's head. The meal began with a wonderful cranberry-walnut salad with a sweet-sour dressing (just a hint of red pepper flakes gave it a spunky little ZIP). The star of the meal itself was prime rib - Donna said hers was a bit tough, but mine was literally butter-knife tender. There were some vegetables and mashed potatoes, which I ate some of, but you can eat veggies anywhere. I really enjoyed the meat. There was music throughout, and as it happened our dinner companions sitting next to us were very entertaining. There was actual figgy pudding for dessert, and truly - the combination of wonderful singing, really delicious food, and merry company made for a very festive event.

And then Donna and I stayed up knitting and gabbing and watching teevee until something like 3:00 AM. A good time was had by all!

There's another commercial, which I do like. There's a little kid, and he's wearing a black-and-white knitted cap. It shows him at school, playing baseball (with the cap under his helmet) - and then his mom slips it off of him while he sleeps to wash it. (I think the commercial's for laundry soap.) My Highly-Developed imagination tells me that his grandmaw knitted him that little cap and I think the whole little film is endearing as all get-out. (I don't remember at all what the soap is - so maybe it's not a great commercial, but sure is sweet.)

There's another one (can you sign up to be a Nielsen Family for ads?) - this one shows the mom serving her family baked potatoes - and each has a whole stick of butter standing up vertically in it. That, of course, is for something heart-healthy to use instead of butter. I like THAT commercial because, if you ask me, a whole stick of butter in a baked potato sounds like a very good idea! Thanks for asking!

We had a decent snow, resulting in a couple of Snow Days at the begining of the week. I know it's crap to drive in sometimes, but give me a cup of tea, (the silent partner of Cats, Sticks and Books) a good book, some knitting and a cat and a lovely soft heavy snowfall and I am a Happy Midwestern Woman. The "good book"? "Casting Spells" by B. Bretton. It was an easy read, finished in one cozy snow day. Not brilliant, might I add - I found myself with ideas for changing a phrase here, expression there - but it was entertaining enough.

My Writers' Group met here Monday - well, two came. Because of the dicey weather and forecast for more, our members who live about 45 minutes from town didn't want to risk it. I've thought about bringing my edited pages from my NaNoWriMo novel for their critique, but I haven't gotten to that point yet. I brought another of my short stories - and they gave me a couple of STUNNING suggestions, but said that they thought it was really a good story. I think I'm going to send that one out with my about feeling good about stuff!!

I've had nice days at the Museum this week and all is back in balance. I have good projects to work on, I'll be able to report TWO finished projects before the end of the coming week (you saw it here first!) and the Festive Days of Winter have begun.

More soon.........I promise! (That sound you're hearing? A deep, satisfied, "things are back to normal" sigh.)

I, a Superior Being, will keep Maman on task, because I am a Superior Being.


CTJen said...

I played violin in the pit for a medieval 12th night meal our high school choir was doing many many years ago. It was wondrous fun, dressing up, and I remember the Boar's Head Carol the most. The only bad thing was that they didn't feed the musicians! :-(

Anonymous said...

I had to skip your description of the food because I am already hungry but too lazy to go cook something. The Barbara Bretton book landed on my TBR shelf yesterday. I'm looking forward to it.

joyknits said...

Love the kitty pix - is that Evangeline checking out the tree? The dinner menu sounded great, and the tea's a great idea. It's really too late to eat, but I think a cuppa might just hit the spot :)

MollyBeees said...

Oh! What a lovely picture of Evangeline! What a sweet little kitty face! Your tree looks scrumptious! I love the smell of fresh conifer at Christmas. Mine carried the heady smell of aluminium this year! :-)
Glad you're settling back in. I missed you!

Alwen said...

My husband also likes the idea of the whole stick of butter!

Boo, the little tree place I like to get a balsam fir from didn't have any balsams this year. That means a cross-county drive Tuesday for one (and a disappointed 9-year-old).

Now I'll be hearing "The boar's head in hand bear I" in my head all night!

Anonymous said...

Ever notice your posts often make me hungry?

janna said...

I like snow, too, if I don't have to deal with it. Unfortunately, they expect me at work pretty much every day and some days, even getting to the bus stop is a bit of an adventure!