First, There Was the Music...Then the Ballet...Then the Collection

It's official.  My Christmas has begun!

Mr. T and I went to Winston-Salem last night to attend the University of North Carolina's School of the Arts 2009 production of  The Nutcracker.  With a live orchestra playing the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and the enthusiastic (if not always on pointe...:) dancers telling the sweet story of Clara through their movements, we embraced the Season's spirit.  We (along with most of rest of the audience) loved the Russian dancers in Act II, leaping and posing to their lively part.  Hopefully, if you follow the link, you'll get a taste of it.

We started a Family Tradition of going to see the Nutcracker when Missy M was a little girl, and we were living in Memphis.  That year, our cousin Larry Allen played a couple of parts in the production at the Orpheum (a beautiful theatre, as I recall), including the part of the Grandfather in the opening Act. And, I also remember a family favorite, Jack Eaton, playing a part in a production, Herr Drosselmeier, I believe.  Big Jack was a long-time local NBC sportscaster in Memphis...and fab Voice of the Memphis Tigers, too.  Anyway, memory fails as to whether he was in the same production as Larry matter, we loved going, year after year.  Hence...a tradition was born!  Of course, as I've written about before, that led to the "tradition" of our collecting nutcrackers...which now number 50+.  We've added a couple this year, but haven't entered them into the "official tally" yet...that would be a sheet of paper with all the nutcrackers numbered and described.

This year, we'll actually get to see the ballet again when we visit Missy M.  She wants to get her Season started, too, don't you know?  Then, we can (1) make up for not going at all last year by going twice this year, and (2) compare productions...see which one does what the best. I'll let you know!

So, as I was saying, last night was our night out on the town.  That's a photo of us (right), all gussied up and ready to head out the door.  I'm wearing a shawl I knit a couple of years ago, using several kinds/textures of yarn, including a sparkly one...which is why I choose it for special occasions.  The last time I wore it (when we went to the 2007 Nutcracker at the Fox in STL), we were in an ice-storm.  No precip last night, but cold temps nonetheless.  Still, it is an extremely warm wrap, which I had to remove in order to stay in the Stevens Center...where it was a bit too warm for my tastes.

In the photo, we are standing in the den, next to the Sheep Tree (which also has some other ornaments, like that little red sweater I knit several years ago, front and center...:); maybe you can make out the little Angel on Top that I wrote about in my last post?  The odd looking object over Mr. T's right shoulder is the Phantom of the Opera Nutcracker on the mantle, complete with his mask and cape.

Speaking of weather...I was, wasn't I?  We are supposed to see some snow this weekend.  80% chance on Sunday.  We'll see.  As for now, it's 35 in the middle of the afternoon and partly cloudy.  Looks like winter, if you know what I mean.

Spiced tea, anyone?!


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