I woke up Sunday morning with the same level of excitement I wake up with on Christmas morning. Jason is here! We get to play! Yay!
Being Sunday, I got ready for church, ate breakfast, then knocked on Jason’s door to see if he was up. Not at all. Poor prince. So I headed off to Sacrament Meeting while he caught up on some much-needed sleep.
I returned about an hour later feeling only a little guilty about ditching Sunday School and Relief Society, and found Jason puttering around the kitchen. Yay! He’s awake! Let’s play!
We both got ready for the day, Jason did an hour of work, and then we headed downtown.
First stop: Lunch.
|Chicken Bombay Bowl with Naan|
We opted for something quick and Bombay Bowl was on the way to our first stop. They had a new coconut sauce that was really tasty.
I had some Christmas errands to run in the area, which I won’t go into detail about here other than to say that we went to a store that was so drenched in hipsterness that I half expected the man in the ironic t-shirt and the girl in a tattered kimono with long thick black hair and Zooey Deschanel bangs, of course to be Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in costume. It was all kinds of fun.
With a couple of hours to go before our dinner reservation, we parked at the conference center and walked through Lodo enjoying the Christmas decorations, especially on Market Street. I gave Jason the choice between heading east down 16th Street to check out the outdoor mall or going west to Tattered Cover Lodo. To my delight, he picked:
I was psychologically preparing myself for a quick jaunt through (so contrary to my nature!) when Jason pulled a book from a shelf, headed to a table, and settled in.
What the what? Were we actually going to sit in a bookstore and read? I couldn’t believe it. Not since Jason almost let me read in a cafe in Paris has this been a possibility with him. I tentatively pulled a few books and sat nearby. Before settling in, though, I had to capture this rare sighting:
|Look! Jason being leisurely!|
Jason responded in kind:
|The creature in her natural habitat|
To my utter astonishment, we enjoyed the bookstore ambiance for an hour. An hour! That’s like nine hours in Jason-time. This truly was a magical day.
We had reservations at a well-reviewed nearby Chinese-Western fusion restaurant for a pre-dinner show. We laughed when we arrived to discover that we were the only ones there, thus reprising our gauche habits of dining at the ridiculously early hours of 7:00 or 8:00 PM in Spain; but happily the restaurant filled up shortly after we started. The service was excellent, the food was fine.
|Bread Service – Rice Cake with Chili Jelly|
|Duck Spring Rolls with Cilantro Yogurt|
|Pork Pot Stickers with Ginger Mustard|
|Celery Root Soup with Miso Butterscotch Foam, Asian Pears, and Green Apples|
|Brussel Sprouts with Ground Pork and Mint|
|Yellow Curry Mussels with Pork Belly|
|Seared Salmon with Miso-Buttered Corn, Edamame, and Shitake Vinaigrette|
Quite full and with plenty of leftovers, we walked back to the Performing Arts Center to see The Nutcracker.
Rachel mentioned that a few years ago Colorado Ballet invested a fortune in new costumes, sets, and props for their annual production, and it certainly paid off. I was highly impressed with the quality of the technical elements. There was far fewer men leaping about than I usually like in a ballet, but the choreography of the large group pieces (i.e. the Snowflakes and the Flowers) was particularly well done. Plus, Clara had an especially-enviable nightgown.
|Not to mention a prince with meaty thighs…|
What I loved the most about it, though, was the playfulness. It was unabashedly a show for kids, from Drosselmeyer’s “magic” tricks (“Ooh, another empty box! But wait! Now there’s a doll inside!”) to Mother Ginger rocking the Macarena and jamming out with her minions (and I loved that she was a giant puppet instead of the usual guy in a very large skirt).
Being the final evening show of the run, they also threw in a not-so-hidden-given-the-pre-show-announcement Easter egg for the adults: “At this evening’s performance, the roles of the Arabian sherpas will be played by Governor John Hickenlooper and Former Governor Bill Owens.”
Oh, the crowd reaction! They were so tickled with hometown pride. It was great. And it was highly entertaining to see these men try to do the roles where, literally, they were only supposed to carry a litter to center stage, stand still with their arms crossed for the dance, then carry the litter off stage. One of them (I think it was Hickenlooper) could not for the life of him keep still during the dance. He was shuffling and fidgeting and constantly looking off stage to check in with the stage manager I assume was waiting in the wings to cue their exit, while the other fellow stood stubbornly stiffly, just like he was told to do. It reminded me so much of 4-year-olds performing their Christmas recitals.
The show was Christmasy and magical and fun. To our delight, an usher who should have been played by Josh Gad burst into our box at intermission to announce that the Broncos had lost spectacularly. He delivered a mostly-monologue on the Bronco’s season thus far and their prospects of ending “13 and 3” to a largely silent and highly amused Jason and me. We were so ill-equipped to participate in this conversation, but so entertained by his enthusiastic assumption that two patrons of The Nutcracker, let alone us, would care at all about local sports.
The show let out rather early and our seats were so close to the exits that we beat the parking crowds, so we moved the car over a few blocks to catch a movie at the Denver Pavillions.
|Being there on Sunday night, it was not nearly this busy.|
Jason hadn’t seen The Hobbit yet, and my experiences with Tolkein are so imbued with Jason (he’s the one who suggested I read the books and we went to the opening night showings of each of the Lord of the Rings movies together) that I was happy to see it a second time with him. So we donned the 3D glasses and settled in to enjoy some rumbly deep dwarf singing and New Zealand scenery.
|Super Grainy but Ready for the Hobbit!|