I hope my readers had a very Merry Christmas. Thursday evening Travalon and I went to the East Side Club Christmas party, where someone bought us a drink, and someone else told me to get on stage with the other two women leading the singing of Christmas carols. Then we kept winning the music trivia questions! It got so bad that I was embarrassed to answer any more, so I told the other people at our table what to say, and then they won. Afterwards we all danced. It was so much fun!
Friday Travalon and I had to get our passports renewed, and our photos look like mug shots. You are not allowed to smile anymore. We went downtown to the Periodicals Reading Room, and then I met Hockey Girl for a champagne tasting at the Barriques in Fitchburg while Travalon drove some Uber. Hockey Girl had given me an early birthday present of a wine tasting journal, in which you are supposed to write your impressions of the wine you are tasting, and I would write them before reading the experts’ take on each champagne. Hockey Girl was duly impressed that I would always get at least one or two of the same flavors as the experts – perhaps I do have a talent for wine tasting! Now, how to parlay that into a lucrative career… After that all three of us went to the Lakeside for an Irish jam, and I found out it is an open jam, so I will try to join them sometime. Hockey Girl and I played a friendly game of Scrabble, and I wiped the floor with her, but so much of it is luck, like if you can use a double word score or triple letter score square. Also, playing against Travalon’s mom, who is a really good player, has honed my own skills.
Saturday Travalon and I met Rich downtown for coffee, then the two of us tried to take the Holiday Trolley one last time, but we waited through four stoplight cycles and it was not moving from the stop before ours. It was so cold out that we just gave up. Then my disappointment continued when we went to the grocery store for cassata supplies, but they didn’t have pound cakes! Luckily Rich said he could get me one, so I spent the whole day at his house, making the cassata and chatting with Mr. Icon, who is in town because his father passed away. Travalon drove some Uber, then he and I went to a really good Indian restaurant on Atwood, I think it’s called Dobhan, and then we went to Barley Pop to try some fancy beers. Travalon had one that smelled like a cinnamon roll.
Christmas Eve we overslept and were about to go to the church in Westport for Mass when I remembered that my choir was singing a piece with two soprano parts, and the other woman who knows it was home sick with bronchitis. We rushed to our church and got there during the homily, so I was able to sing with the choir. We joined Rich, the Single B-Boy, Mr. Icon, and Rich’s Brazilian housemate for brunch at Sofra, then we had to run all over town to find an open nursery to get Travalon’s mom a poinsettia. As long as we were there, we got ourselves one, and I got a couple of cool cacti things. Then we exchanged presents, and I gave Travalon a miniature guitar that says “The Beatles” on it and an adoption kit from the World Wildlife Fund for a red panda, which includes a very cute stuffed panda. He gave me a really cute Peruvian nativity set, a pillow that has vintage San Francisco streetcars on it, a Taco Bell keychain (that’s a gag gift), and a little kid’s book in French that I was able to translate for him with relative ease. After that we had to head back to church so I could sing in the pre-Mass concert with the choir, then we had Christmas Eve Mass, and after that we had a quiet evening at home. My days of running to the Lutheran Church, singing again, and then going to Fruit Soup in the middle of the night at my OTHER choir director’s place are over.
Yesterday we had to go to Mass AGAIN because my choir director insists on doing big pieces with two soprano parts on Christmas morning, then we drove to Oconomowoc for Travalon’s family gathering. I mostly talked to my sisters-in-law, and one gave me a necklace she had made! I hadn’t brought anything because we had been told to only bring presents for the kids. Travalon and I found an open Japanese restaurant to grab a quick, light lunch, then we drove back to Madison and headed to Rich’s house. Mr. Icon and the Brazilian guy had cleaned and decorated, so the place looked wonderful. I made eggnog with quite a bit of help from two other ladies, and of course Cecil Markovitch brought wine, as did some other people. (I think there were twenty people there.) Rich made his famous lasagna, and a vegetarian woman made butternut squash lasagna, so they had a friendly contest to see which was better. Honestly, they were both good and so different that I don’t know how you would compare them. We ate and drank and talked, then we had to take a break before dessert, so we played “Who Am I?” Actually, I do not know the official name of this game, but one person has a Post-It note on his forehead saying who he is, and he can only ask yes-or-no questions of the rest of us to determine who he is. So kind of like Twenty Questions. Jilly Moose was really good at this game, but nobody was better than Kathbert, who took maybe four questions to figure out who she was. Granted, she knew as the Lutheran in the room that people would tease her by making her a Pope, so it didn’t take her any time to figure out that she was JPII. One woman had to test her again, so she put the label “Kathbert” on her forehead, and somehow Kathbert realized in three questions that she was herself! I am not surprised, since, as my regular readers will remember, she always wins my blog contests. You just cannot outsmart Kathbert, so why bother trying? For dessert we had my cassata and a delicious banana-chocolate chip cake made by the guy who always brings fabulous desserts. I should have gone home after that and exercised, but we got sucked into more rounds of “Who Am I?” I could not figure out that I was Mahlia Obama until Prairie Man started shouting relevant questions from another room. Of all the people I know, he might be in the best position to take on Kathbert in a Battle of the Brains. Anyway, we got home late and I did not burn away any of the extra 1200 calories I ate yesterday. My diet app helpfully told me that if I keep eating like that, in a few weeks I will weigh a ton. Thanks for that cheery Christmas thought, diet app. Today I am back to being good.