We had Christmas brunch downtown at high-end hotel. Why? I am asking myself this right now. In part, we did it because my mom likes to have holiday meals there and in her absence we decided to stick to tradition. I have to say, it was mediocre, at best, compared to last year. Maybe that's because my mom wasn't there to distract us from the food, but I don't think so. I think it relates to the ailing economy. The buffet was poorly organized and less diverse in selection. Lots of starchy stuff, no great vegetable dishes. All the fixings for bagels, but NO bagels--what did they expect us to put the lox, capers, tomatoes and onions on? A dinner roll? Ahemm. Fewer wait staff. I don't know. Tough to put my finger on. All I can say is that I could have whipped up a better dinner in 30 minutes at home. Even the desserts (though diverse) were sort of icky and unremarkable given the co$t of the meal. The champagne was good--I will give them that. We walked around downtown for a while afterwards, just for fun, to forget the meal and enjoy the public art ....
...and freeze ourselves to the bone. We called my mom later and told her we were never, ever going to eat there again. (Of course, if she comes next year we will probaly have to, because she will want to. The difference is that she will pay for it.) Nonetheless, we do like going downtown for Christmas, and driving back through fabulous neighborhood to look at houses and people out walking and decorations. Or something.
Gift-giving this year was easy all around, since we all had lists of things we wanted or needed. And we didn't go nuts buying a bunch of stuff that we'd later be sorry about (cost or content-wise).
For me, that included
- the pepper grinder I'd been holding out for. It was worth the wait.
- an extra iPhone charger for the office
- Bigelow's Lemony formula stuff (lotion, handwash, etc. I am a well-known addict)
- cute new earrings
- an electronic photo frame onto which he can load all the cool pictures of his dad as a young and old guy that we found in his office after the memorial service
- a beautiful wine decanter (good job MP1)
- fancy schmancy corkscrew
- lap desk (for laptop use while lounging on couch)
- an extra iPhone charger for his office
- Wms. Sonoma multi-colored mixing bowls
- Matching measuring cups
- Very cute cosmetic bag filled with new nail polish colors and lipsticks (from MP2).
- jewelry and mirror and teapot from November SF china town shopping trip :)
- Classical music-related books from Cambridge U (courtesy of a ms. review by TH).
- $$$ for new clothes, for new job, which requires something other than jeans and/or formal concert wear. Yes, there is something in-between, she just hasn't had to own lots of so-called professional clothing of late
- New cello case, plus electronic practice cello (still to come)
- New digital Camera
- iPhone (in gift-card form--he and TH are off to get it this morning--and to visit the genius bar at the A*ple shop, since poor MP2 updated Safari on Christmas morning and the update screwed up his computer. He spent most of yesterday going through all the commands to correct it. Let us all hope his notebook isn't dead).
- White boards for dorm and home. He is a dutiful and disciplined list-maker when it comes to his musical life and future. He asked for these.
- Files and a label maker. Ditto.
- DVDs of music-related movies--he is building a collection he can use when he teaches. He plans to profess jazz studies during the day and gig by night. (He is totally tuned in to pedagogic innovation and plans to write books on music pedagogy.)
- Jazz-related books from Cambridge U (courtesy of ms. review by TH)
And, now--since my house is about to be all mine (TH and MP2 are headed to the A*ple Store at the mall), I am logging off to get some reading done. Merry Christmas to you and yours, most especially you guys in Calgary, DC and Chicago whom I rarely get to see. Don't work too hard in the New Year.