My equilibrium and Christmasy feeling have been at least partially restored by a trip we made down to the city yesterday. We saw the SF Ballet production of The Nutcracker with C, who is five, her bestest friend/nemesis L who is 4 (mostly nemesis on this particular day, alas), our nine year old son, husband J, and L's parents.
A new production, and fun fun fun. We were in the balcony circle, which has been known to cause nose bleeds. We were in the front row, along the rail, where there were a few anxious moments as the girls l-e-a-n-e-d way out to catch the action, and also to look far far below us and contemplate dropping their programs on the unsuspecting heads of the patrons in the next tier down. We didn't let them, by the way.
I knew I was going to enjoy the show the moment the aptly named Nutcracker came leaping onto the stage and I caught sight of his thighs, all three of them. Oops. Did say that? I do love me those tight manly tights though, worn for once by men who really should be wearing them.
I loved watching the costumes, which were unusually creative and beautiful. The Nutcracker can be a bit staid and it was not this time. And did I mention the men in tights? Who were leaping and cavorting in the most manly ways possible? Oh, and there were ballerinas too, by the way. But you know, they truly don't get the coolest dances. They have to be all about being graceful and floaty, and the artform is so stylized they're pretty much restricted to doing impossible vertical splits and waving their rubbery fluttery arms and tipping around at unlikely angles. And being toted about by their burly counterparts with the little pants. What do you call the men, by the way? Ballerinos? They get all the best parts, more athletic, and lots of impressive leaping and twirling around fast with one leg straight out, without ever falling over even once. Although the lead ballerina did actually fall kersplat right on her ass at the very culmination of an important dance. I thought it was on purpose at first, but then she got right up with that look that cats have when they do something embarrassing like falling off a piece of furniture. I bet PBS didn't use that take (this is why they're filming several performances, I suppose). Poor thing.
The girls did great, although C somewhat better than her friend( what a difference a year makes). I was ungraciously chortling inside as L's poor mother tried to keep her daughter contained, at first with the sweet cajoling we parents use in public settings, and by the end of the performance hissing "sit! down!" through grimly gritted teeth. Oh thank god it wasn't me for once.
There was lots of walking and public transportation and herding children who are not at all adapted to city life and see nothing wrong with playing in the anonymous puddles in the corners of bus stop shelters, or excitedly picking up skanky besmirched pigeon feathers, or wandering heedlessly toward crosswalks which are red, with cars and buses streaming past. And I was stupidly wearing heels, which violently disagreed with my (still) broken toe. I had to wear them! I have no shoes that I can wear with anything fancier than my orange work jumpsuit that do not have heels! But oh, the pain and regret, I can't even tell you.
And then we carpooled home, where our friends dropped off J to pick up our car, which had been worked on in a town a half an hour away. So this was very convenient. We were the tiniest bit late, but they let us pick up the car anyway. This seemed really serendipitous until I got home and found a message on the phone from J in a total state, saying they had locked him in the parking lot. Half. an hour. away. Me? Utter disbelief.
Then, a second phone call saying he had managed to escape by some fancy driving over a curb and apparently lots of agapanthus. Will they ever let us come back? Do we actually want to? This remains to be seen.
So all in all, a good day.