Sunday, December 20, 2009

Before the fall

Prior to playing man-on-couch-with-leg-broken-in-two-places, Henry performed in his class Winter Play. The fifth grade did an incredibly creative play loosely based on the story of Persephone who is kidnapped by Hates to the Underworld. Henry played two parts - Helios and Underworld Gardner #2. They were incredibly creative and used both live action on the stage accompanied intermittently by videos that they had recorded earlier and then shown on a GIANT movie screen above the stage. This first clip is the introduction to all the gods. There's no sounds on this one since it was narrated by a live person on the stage. Still the creativity is amazing.

The second is a video of the Henster in his role as Helios. After Persephone is kidnapped by Hades (and his shadies), the other Gods turn to Helios to see if he knows what happened to her. Given that he is the Sun, they had his head realistically sized - e.g. about the size of a volkswagon beetle where this was played...

Helios speaks to Demeter from James Harding on Vimeo.

The last clip is the "Underworld TV" Field of Torment "commercial" that they showed in the middle of the play. The whole thing was incredibly creative AND Henry was on two legs when he did it. All good. All good....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blades of Glory

Just when you think you've got a "plan", just when you think you've got the "whole thing wired" something happens that puts a giant monkey wrench in your whole business. Damn that cosmos. Makes you want to write limericks - the red-haired-step-child of poetry...

There was a lithe boy, name of Henry
whose skating career ended in misery
Took one lap 'round the rink
and alas! Done did sink
then broke his leg on the slippery.

And for your viewing pleasure (as if my poetry prowess wasn't enough for you), a quick photo montage to mark the occasion of my first child with a "real" broken appendage. Technically, I was just due for it.

#1: H arrives by ambulance to UCSF Emergency Center

Disappointingly, there were no sirens during transport. What a rip. If you're going to pay $5000 for something,the least they could do was whooop it at least once. Cookie (the bear) was there waiting for him with Mom.

#2 Morphine Administered - Casting Complete

This is H stoned on morphine. I took notice of this particular look - flushed face, large pupils and logged it away for our journey through the teenage years.

I got to help put the cast on. Felt like I was an extra in Grey's Anatomy.

#3 Enthroned at home:

Happy camper? I think not. There are two kinds of people. 1 - people who nut up and grab the problem by the scruff of the neck and endure. 2 - people who sob and wail and shake their fists at fate (as well as anyone around them who gets in the way). Henry is in the second category. That face tells a thousand stories....

And to close - another limerick - cause I just can't help myself (and I am sleep deprived, cause you know who has to get up in the middle of the night again and help someone pee in a tupperware bowl...)

Henry's kin bemoaned his fate
his giant cast they would like to serrate
For eight weeks it will stay
while H hates each damn day
And blames his calamity on a skate.

(O.K. that's weak, I know...)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'll do that NEXT

Past due for a blog update.

My big giant plan since Monday was to do that "next." Then I got a cold. Then Henry simultaneously imploded and exploded in to a giant fire ball of morning cantankerousness and I had to try to design a new method of grounding him that had parental disciplinary impact. Meanwhile, I had to finish our Christmas cards and send out the year-end fund raiser for Camtom - licking a grand total of seven trillion envelopes and making myself sick on glue. Henry had basketball practice, I supervised a couple of 7th graders and their homework. And,then, George the Elder came home on Monday evening with - GASP!! - the MAN COLD that made my full-on nasal congestion entirely inconsequential. I offered to make his funeral arrangements right on the spot, but he just moaned and headed off to bed. I spent Monday night sleeping on the couch since Mr. MAN COLD was so very near death and my nasal congestion would have impaired his ability to take one step away from Death's Door.

Tuesday morning I had carpool and then I had to run christmas errands (book store and pet supply store) and to - what fun!! - stand in line at both the UPS store and the post-office for 40 minutes each. Little time-suck chunks of joy. Then I had to car pool an Audi wagon full of HIGHLY excited 5th grades to and from the Brava Theater to rehearse for their Winter Play Twice. Get the boys to Kumon, buy candy canes for George the Younger's friends, go grocery shopping field calls from George the Elder who wants to know, "Where are you? What are you doing???"

Today, I caught up on ironing and laundry (o.k. I hadn't ironed for hmmmm - more than three weeks) Car pooled those 5th graders again who are getting more unmanageable in their excited-ness as show time approaches. Got H to cooking class, took George to his basketball game, picked up H from cooking and took him to the basketball game. Watched game, rushed home and finished the ironing. As luck would have it - Man Cold was feeling better and helped get the vittles on the table.

So, yes, I'm due for an update. I have some pictures of me getting all Martha Stewart with some peppermint candy and a powerdrill last Sunday - - and my plan is to get to that "next" tomorrow. Right after I finish the laundry, drive to the Theater with the 5th graders one more time, play bus to get both George and Henry to and from basketball practice, make a sign for the performance tomorrow night, rush over to the Brava Theater again at 6:30 in time to usher for the holiday play to see Henry play Helios and somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 manage to feed both the performer and the brother who wants to go to the holiday play about as much as he wants to poke his own eyes out.

I guess we'll see about that update. OH!, and Shannon's birthday is tomorrow. I am officially the mother of a 29 year old. Impossible. But I will think about that "next."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Doing the Laundry

Question: What Napa Valley restaurant can feed 60 guests with two perfect brussels sprouts, one heavenly ripe tomato, 0.5 ounces of sushi grade tuna, a couple of sun chokes, charge what equates to your monthly mortgage payment and still leave each guest feeling like they had the best meal they've ever eaten?

Answer: The French Laundry

For the unaware, The French Laundry is not the name of a local high end dry cleaning establishment. It is a restaurant. A restaurant named for a laundry. I ponder if the name is a little tongue in cheek reference to the sensation that you have when paying the bill? Get it?? Taken to the cleaners? But if that's the inside joke, you can put me on the whitest-white cycle you can find and don't bother me until I've been triple rinsed. If you have the chance to go to this place - do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Just. Say. Yes. It's that good. As a friend of mine used to say, "It's all that and a bag of chips too!" Except in this case, it's all that and some beautifully wrapped home-made short bread cookies to go.

Sometimes restaurants like this have a tendency to rest on their laurels. They get a lot of hype, they believe their own press and things get shoddy. Not the case here. It takes 3+ hours to get through the menu. 3+ hours of being wowed by each diminutive, flawlessly prepared course. 3+ hours to fervently pray that the 3+ hours were even longer - especially when you started out thinking that you were going to need a snickers bar when the culinary journey was over. I mean, how could you get full on a continuous stream of teensy little courses, no matter how loudly the angels sang as you took each bite? And yet, when the end comes and they hand you your to-go bag of those otherworldly squares of short-bread - the thought of taking another single bite of anything seems an impossibility.

(Note: Sure, I was exaggerating about the two perfect brussels sprouts. Mathematically speaking, it would be impossible to feed every diner with just two. But, assuming that each sprout has 10 good tiny leaves - and each exquisitely prepared "hand rolled parsnip anglotti" course requires 2 faultless leaves - that's five diners per sprout. Calculating that they seat around 60 per evening (as far as we could tell) and half would select this "side" of the menu - - they'd have to have at least 12 brussels sprouts total on hand- realizing that at least a full 1/2 of the miniature little sprout heads might contain less than ideal leaves. It's easy to see where those production costs add up - heh heh heh)

You can see the whole menu at Enjoy just looking at it and imagining having about two to four sumptuous bites of each thing as it is presented using stacks and stacks of impeccable white china which simultaneously make the delectable morsels look even smaller - yet more highly desirable. Awe-inspiring. I posit that this type of presentation also gives the dishwashers a hell of a workout every night. I counted the dishes below one of my courses. There were five. I get the main plate and the charger. What are the names for the other 3? It boggles the mind.

And my last observation about this particular culinary adventure? The Laundry is located in Yountville, CA. It's about 8 miles or so from Napa. The town's name is derived from the name of early pioneer George Calvert Yount. Yount was considered responsible for establishing the first vineyard in the Napa Valley. Presently, Yountville is home to not one, not two but three of Thomas Keller's restaurants. I know there are other restaurants NOT owned by Keller - but I think you have to really exert some energy to finding them. I'm starting to take odds on when the name will officially be changed to Kellerville. It has a ring to it, doesn't it? Their motto, "Kellerville: Where Foodies Come to Die."

Bottom line. Great meal. The perfect surprise by George the Elder for my 50th. He's a peach that way.