Thursday, December 30, 2010

“Everything’s Up To Date In Kansas City”

But, in Edina, Andrew and I have been, mostly, staying as far away as possible from computers during our Christmas holidays.

We have, primarily, been playing with the kids (and the dog), eating good food, and visiting—lots and lots of visiting.

It’s been fun.

As Andrew says: “Life is good”.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Holly And The Ivy

Early tomorrow morning, Andrew and I will fly home for Christmas. We will remain in Minneapolis until late afternoon on January 2, when we will return to Boston (for my final semester).

My exams concluded on Monday, and I have been enjoying downtime.

Andrew and I considered attending Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” last night or tonight, as we had not bothered to see the local production either of the previous two years and as this year is our final chance to catch the production.

We decided, upon reflection, to give the production a pass.

We had attended Texas Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker” last year in Dallas, and we were not necessarily in the mood to see the ballet again so soon after last year’s experience. Further, we were informed that the local production was not in good shape this year, a victim of limited rehearsal time, and that we would not be missing anything special.

Andrew told me that sometime in the next few years we shall go to New York over the holidays in order for me to experience the classic Balanchine production at New York City Ballet, which Andrew insists is the best “Nutcracker” on the planet. I am perfectly content with that.

I look forward to the holidays.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A White-Trash Psycho At Work

Iowa Men’s Basketball coach Fran McCaffery, photographed in reprehensible action during the Iowa/Iowa State game in Iowa City on 10 December 2010.

Any reasonable sports fan would vomit if the head coach of his favorite team carried on like this—and such sports fan would not long remain a fan.

Having witnessed McCaffery’s antics, I now fully understand why tiny Grinnell College in nearby Grinnell, Iowa, has a larger endowment than the endowment of the University Of Iowa.

I have a question for Sally Mason, President of the University Of Iowa, as well as Gary Barta, Athletic Director of the University Of Iowa:

What do you think outsiders think of your university when you hire persons such as Fran McCaffery?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keeping Our Holidays Straight

Our Thanksgiving in Dallas was uneventful.

Andrew and I did nothing and went nowhere—we did not leave my aunt and uncle’s house the entire weekend—and neither did anyone else, except my mother, my aunt and my sister went out to explore some weekend holiday sales early Friday morning.

Last year we spent Thanksgiving Weekend in Dallas, too. At least last year we all went out, once, to attend a performance at Dallas’s new opera house. We attended a performance by the local ballet company of “The Nutcracker”, and we did so primarily in order to experience the new opera house.

The only thing playing in Dallas last weekend was the very same production of “The Nutcracker”, and none of us wanted to see the production a second time.

Had we been ambitious, we might have gone out to visit the Dallas Museum Of Art, which is not supposed to be very good—or, better yet, gone to Fort Worth to visit the Kimbell Art Museum, which indeed is a very, very good museum.

We were not ambitious, however, and we stayed in, watching football games and eating.

We had turkey and ham for Thanksgiving dinner, with two kinds of stuffing. We had mashed potatoes, candied yams, peas, a vegetable casserole and two kinds of cranberry salad. For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, cranberry-nut pie, cheesecake (my sister loves my aunt’s cheesecake) and brownies (my brother loves my aunt’s brownies).

The foods from Thanksgiving continued to feed us through Saturday’s lunch, but on Saturday night my aunt prepared her special pepper steak. Andrew liked the pepper steak no end. In fact, Andrew liked it so much that my aunt prepared it again for Sunday’s lunch—and no one complained.

Our trip to Dallas provided us with a warm, mellow, carefree holiday—and it was the last thing on the cards for Andrew and me until my exams (which begin in ten days) are over.

Andrew and I did something silly today: we went out and bought a Christmas tree.

Last year, we did not get a Christmas tree, although we had done so the previous year.

Last year, we had a much longer Christmas holiday at our disposal, sixteen days in all, with several pre-Christmas days in Minnesota, and we had decided last year that no Christmas tree in Boston was necessary.

This year, however, is very much like two years ago, when our calendars allowed only a short holiday of just over a week. Because Andrew and I must remain in Boston until the morning of the 23rd this year, we decided this morning to buy a tree and get a head start on celebrating the season.

We decorated the tree this afternoon—and afterward we made a few Christmas cookies, which seemed the appropriate thing to do. We made a nut cookie that required a cookie press, date-nut cookies involving two layers of pastry, and Linzer cookies, which also involve two layers of pastry. The latter, to be precise, are not Christmas cookies, but we think of them as festive.

The cookies actually turned out. We ate a few this afternoon, with eggnog, and we will have more tonight.

We are in the midst of preparing a major dinner: lobster bisque; baked tomatoes stuffed with seasonings, fresh vegetables and rice; and seasoned pork loin, potato pancakes, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and hot, homemade applesauce.

Between the fresh evergreen tree and the fresh applesauce, the apartment is filled with a wonderful array of smells. The Christmas tree lights are blinking, and Easter music is playing in the background (Beethoven’s “Christ On The Mount Of Olives”).

I believe we are having trouble keeping our holidays straight!

Calvin Coolidge At Warren Harding's Funeral