Monday, December 14, 2015

Birthday Weekend

It was a wonderful birthday weekend, made special by family and friends.  Thanks to Gommie, Aunt Banana, and Lambeth for calling with birthday wishes.  

I had a little holiday coffee Friday morning, inviting many friends over for treats.  I don't like to be all alone around my birthday and have long hosted my own little get togethers.   Only a few friends could make it, but we had a jolly time together, setting the spirit for the whole weekend.

That evening was the annual big holiday party.  Mmm, mmm good:  
  • Steak, green beans, baked potato, slab bacon, with Peter Luger sauce 
  • chicken tikka 
  • spinach dal 
  • chicken taco 
  • corn and mushroom taco 
  •  Italian sausage pasta 
  • spinach pizza 
  • prosciutto, mint, and mozzarella pizza
  • pesto orchiette
  • Turkey and stuffing bread 
  • porchetta slider
  • cheese burger
  • Smoked tofu noodles
  • chicken sausage and pancake corn dogs 
  • scrambled eggs with tater tots 
  • s'more doughnut
  •  cappuccino doughnut
  • homemade Twinkie 
  • homemade Ho Ho
  • homemade chocolate cream Ho Hos
  • Captain Crunch marshmallow treat
  • Fruit Loop marshmallow treat
  • homemade malomar bar
  • Concord grape pop tart
  • alcoholic creamsicle drink
  • alcoholic holiday julep drink
We awoke early to head to Boston where we would see the exhibition, Class Distinctions:  Art in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.  I have always loved Dutch 17th-century painting and even minored in it as part of my graduate school studies, taking classes even with Simon Schama (who broke his leg during our semester!)   Genre paintings are my favorite and so knew there would be a lot to like in this show.

We got there around 11 a.m., and went straight to the exhibition.  It was crowded, as expected, but not so much as to be unenjoyable.  We talked to the kids about the 17th century, the rise of the middle class, Dutch trade and merchants, conventions of landscape painting (the brown-green-blue progression) and portraiture (pendants, status markers), and practiced "reading" what was happening in the various genre paintings.  There were many wonderful paintings--not only Vermeer and Rembrandt, but by Hals, Ter Borch, de Hooch, Steen, Maes, Metsu, van Ruysdael, etc.  The names meant little to the kids, but they liked some of the paintings.  Mama and I felt like we were walking through an art history text!  We had a midday snack before looking at some of the 20th century works by Pollock and Picasso at Sis's request and then browsing the bookstore.  Had to get the heavy art catalog!  

Then it was off to our second stop:  early dinner at the Publick House, where we'd eaten the before our Girl Scout overnight at Old Sturbridge Village in March (four days before my surgery.)  Again we sat by the huge and lovely fireplace, unlit in our remarkably unseasonably-warm December weather.  I had a full turkey dinner plate with butternut squash soup and Indian pudding; Mama and Bud had lobster pie and clam chowder and raspberry tart, while Sis had chicken pot pie with apple pie.  It was a lovely meal sitting in the old space cheerfully decorated for Christmas, setting the mood for our next outing.

Yep, Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village!  We hadn't been since 2012, having been three years in a row, so it seemed new and unfamiliar to the kiddos.  But for Mama and I, it was much the same;  tastings of cider, gingerbread, plum pudding, roasted chestnuts; demonstrations of tinsel making (but we never found the cornucopia making); riding the horse-drawn carriage; and watching the roaring bonfire (and each practicing taking photos.)  I liked the carol-singalong, which was a first for us this year.  Sis and Bud loved watching the potter at work, making cups and candleholders out of lumps of clay.  The potter had a wonderful kinda grumpy rapport with all the kids standing around--saying that he wasn't an artist and only made things to be useful not beautiful, that no farmer wanted to find clay, that he would have rather been a sailor, and so forth.  All the while his fingers pressed and worked the slippery stuff.  We each got to select a free clay ornament:  teapot, bunny, goose, and heart.   

We stayed much longer than we expected, almost closing the place at 9 pm, which means we got home very late.


We were up early for church; I was the assistant RE teacher.  After that, we had a seafood lunch and . . . Mama and I slept for 3+ hours while the kids played!  We didn't mean to nap the day away.   Later, we finished the day with dinner and the original Miracle on 34th Street.  

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