Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Last Christmas, we were in the process of moving from Alabama to Washington (state), and I was very sick on Christmas Eve. Consequently, I'm counting this Christmas as my first official Christmas married to Jack.

We got a real tree! A seven-foot Douglas fir. Jack has a buddy from work named Sean, and the day after we bought the tree, Jack and Sean went out to do Christmas shopping, and Sean's wife Samantha and I bought ornaments and lights and stuff and decorated the tree.

On Christmas, after going to church and singing/playing piano for the Christmas presentation thingummybobdoohickeywhatsit, we got down to opening presents. Akela immediately homed in on which one was hers.

We let the dogs open their gift from Grandma Dubby first. Blitzkrieg didn't seem nearly as excited about opening the gifts as Akela, so we let her do it.

We probably shouldn't have, though, because after she opened hers, she started wanting to help us open every other present too.

Especially the chocolate Jack got me.

I got him a Boy Scouts campaign hat, which I know he's been wanting. I don't think I got the size quite right, but they said he could take it in and exchange it if it didn't fit, so it's all good.

After that, Sean and Samantha came over. We ate salmon and shrimp scampi and happle pie and brownies, and then we played Farkle and Funglish and MarioKart Wii and Poker and then more Farkle. It was really fun.

Thanks, everyone who sent gifts! I don't want to list them all on here because I don't want to forget anything and then feel like a jerk, but thankyou thankyou thankyou!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Last night we went to a "Handel's 'Messiah' sing-a-long," which is something I had never heard of before. A buddy of ours who went to Wood Badge with us and goes to our church also (Got all that? That's the subject of the rest of this sentence) told me about it. At first I was a little noncommittal--"well, maybe I'll go, maybe I won't, I dunno, I'll talk to Jack..."--but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. After all, I do like classical music, and I like concerts. A sing-a-long, though?

Turns out that while the choir was professional, or at least semi-professional (at least I assume so because they were adults and they were excellent), the orchestra was a youth orchestra. The concert, which they put on every year, apparently, is free, but to buy a score (which is optional), it's ten bucks. So we bought one, and it was the actual full and complete score. All 252 pages of it.

Once we got there, we started looking for our friend, Merrill. We didn't find him, so we went up to one of the four balconies to look there. While we were looking, the usher lady saw the awe-struck look on my face and explained to me that the lowest balcony was called the "loge," then there was the lower mezzanine, the upper mezzanine, and... oh nuts, I forgot what the other one was called. It was at the top, and there were actually two, one on the left and one on the right. Then the people sitting on the ground-floor level were divided into sections: sopranos on the right, altos on the left, tenors mid-right, basses mid-left. They said wherever you sit, though, you can sing along, but the higher up you go, the fewer other people are likely to sing. The people who come just to watch tend to sit on the higher balconies. We wanted to sing, but we also wanted to sit together--plus we only had the one score--so we sat on the loge. Even though we were half an hour early, there were still only two seats left on the loge level. They happened to be together, halfway down a row right in the very front, so that I could stick my feet through the bars and let them dangle over the heads of the people walking below.

They only did an hour and a half of the four and a half hours the whole thing would take. Apparently tonight they're doing all four and a half, but I don't think I could actually sit still that long!

They swapped out conductors every few movements, and the conductors were really funny. My favorite was the guy who was balding on top and let his remaining white hair grow down to his shoulders to make up for it.

Every time the choir stood up to sing, the audience was asked to stand and sing as well. I'm not terribly ashamed to admit that while I did passably well, in several parts of the music, I haven't been so lost in any music since I was a freshman in high school. But it was super fun anyway! Definitely worth the ten bucks we paid. Plus the five it cost us to park in downtown Olympia. The only thing that could have been improved was the French Horn section. Only because there wasn't one. But the trumpet solos were outstanding.