Since my parents weren't big fans of our joint concert with the orchestra the first time 3 years ago, plus we were doing so little actual holiday music at those concerts this year, I suggested they come to the Chateau Julien concert in Carmel Valley and stay at my house the night before the Sunday concert. We were chilly at my house, and neither of them saw the switch on the thermostat either! ;) The concert went very well and they both really enjoyed it, with my mom saying if she can hear the Biebl Ave Maria in the Chai wine cellar that way every year, she will drive the 5 hours each way just for that! High praise from her! ;) It was also very nice they could see my holiday decorations up to that point, which weren't finished, but far enough along to get compliments from my mom... :)
Next was a week of rehearsals & frantic party prep for me, then we had the seasonal Choral Project concerts with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, which went well, even a good review in the SJ Mercury News. Thankfully I broke tradition since I was NOT sick - even better since the weekend included my party after the Santa Clara concert that Friday - 43 people were having a blast even in the drizzle! People were making fun of my concerns that I'd run out of food, but the last time I had a concert after-party 2 years ago, all my food was gone after barely 30 minutes in a blaze of starving singers, so I think my worries were warranted! So yeah, this year I have leftovers, but I was hoping for that, since I need Christmas goodies for gifts & family as well.
The company holiday party was after the concerts, and I was requested to do my now-traditional face painting for the kids. Of course I agreed, since it's fun & the kids always love it! This year since I've been doing it so many years in a row, I decided to splurge a cute outfit, which thankfully arrived in time. Finding a cute Ms. Santa outfit that wasn't too risqué was more of a challenge that I thought! ;) I painted faces for over 2 hours solid, never looking up even to see who else was at the party, with a consistent line of patient kids waiting for their turns.
Britta-Elf face painting the kids at the company party
It was nice that my own big party was over so early in December, since I was able to try to relax a bit (key word "try" - I still never got to bed before 2am!), get the rest of my holiday baking done, put up the decorations that didn't make it up in time for the party, and even attend some holiday parties for once! Usually the December weekend schedule is Chateau Julien, Choral Project concerts, Cibo Cantabimus caroling party, then Christmas, so even if I get invited to any holiday parties, I can't go because of other commitments. Since this year the Cibo party is delayed until tomorrow, this past week I was able to attend two parties, impromptu caroling and a dinner out...yay! I was hoping for a 3rd party on Saturday, since I had been pre-invited in the fall, but that never materialized...darn...
The giant fancy bash on Friday was a blast, with singing around the piano & everything. Lucy had said to "wear your holiday finest" and I had asked her if my full-length red velvet dress was okay, to which she said yes, but when I walked in and everyone else was in black, I began to wonder! During the evening more festive colors arrived so that was fine...but I got a few funny comments...since I had a cranberry & vodka martini, every single person at the party had to say "your drink matches your dress!"...and I also got a comment I was like the lady in red from the Matrix - the distraction in the training program who turns into an Agent & kicks Neo's butt - so I said I consider that a high compliment! haha...
Sunday's party was casual, but I came overdressed since I wanted at least one more chance to wear my new red holiday halter top before the season was over... ;) Everyone brought absolutely delicious food, so much that my pastry brie had the most leftovers I've ever seen yet - that's a good thing!...plus that also meant I had more brie to bring on Monday to Johnathon who loves it! ;)
Monday night was Caroling with the Choral Project...nothing official, just getting whoever could make it to go caroling at Christmas in the Park in downtown San Jose. We must have had at least twice the number of people singing as last year, but we made half the money...*shrug* It wasn't about the money of course, since we're singing geeks who just want to sing without the stress of a big concert. ;) It was a lot of fun, even with all the noise from the official entertainment.
Tuesday was the quarterly choir dine-out fundraiser, this time at the Loft Bistro downtown San Jose, so that was a nice evening of yummy food & fun friends at a table so big you couldn't hear what was going on at the other end...we did get a good group photo I think...then last night Cyd came over for dinner & decorations (she hadn't seen them yet & wanted to), and she brought Little Miss Sunshine with her, so it was really good to laugh so hard! We both said it wouldn't have been nearly as fun watching it by ourselves, since laughing out loud hysterically makes so much more sense with company... ;)
That brings us up to date...the car is all packed except for the laptop & Kylie, so I'm driving to Sacramento tonight, to Davis tomorrow for lunch through the caroling party at my parents' house, then the relatives start arriving for hopefully 16 of the Clouston Clan for the first time all together for Christmas since the newest members were born. All presents are purchased but not yet wrapped (easier in transit with such a full car!), and I've got a good photo that still needs to be photoshopped into my holiday e-card, so hopefully I'll get that done before Christmas is over...for now, I'll leave you with a link to my decoration photos if you'd like to get in the holiday spirit... :)
Happy Holidays to everyone!