This past weekend, Mr and I celebrated with our own little Christmas tradition. The Saturday before Christmas, we go to the matinee performance of The Joffrey's The Nutcracker and then have dinner at Morton's on Wacker. Mr claims he likes the music, but really he goes because I love ballet and Morton's is a pretty good reward for his patience.
I love the Nutcracker. I love the families with the little girls in pretty dresses, and the little boys in tiny ties and sport coats. Of course, I love the ballet itself, though the arabian coffee piece always puts me to sleep and their Mother Ginger puppet sort of freaks me out. I can't find a picture of it, but traditionally, Mother Ginger is played by a man on stilts. The little ponchinelles run out of her skirt, and it has sort of a clown-car effect. You can't tell how many kids are in there. It's fun. The Joffrey has a massive puppet with a person inside operating it. Her head turns and her hands move, but it is very weird. Plus, her skirt is super light and doesn't quite touch the stage, so you can see that there are more kids waiting to run out. It's really bizarre and a little disturbing.
All in all, I love it. This year was a tad disappointing, because at our performance Willy Shives was Herr Drosselmyer and Calvin Kitten was the Nephew/Nutcracker prince. Kitten was good, but he's a little on the short side and just not as handsome as Shives. Shives is the Assistant Ballet Master at the Joffrey, so he's basically their star. He's the one you see in their posters for The Nutcracker, and he's just amazing. When he's the Nutcracker Prince, it is a lot easier to get swept up in the magic of the play. Kitten, aside from having a goofy name that is either unfortunate or a poor choice of stage names, just doesn't have the presence that Shives does. Also, I think maybe he's not really used to partnering. It looked to me like the Sugar Plum Fairy was having to work a lot harder than she should have. Although, it is nice for her that he got the shot - most ballerinas are tall because they have to be proportionate to their partners. Men are few and far between in the dance world, so ballerinas get chosen from those who are the right height for the guy. Most short girls get stuck in the Corps.
Morton's, obviously, was fantastic. I don't know what they do to make that steak taste so freaking good, but ... there literally aren't words. Mr is also a fan of Gibsons, who are not shabby, but I just don't think anything can compare to Morton's. It is literally the most satisfying meal I have all year. I eat as slowly as possible when we're there, just to savor the steak as long as I can.
So, now that we've done our Christmas tradition, it is starting to feel real to me. The construction is wrapping up on our house - the floor got the final seal yesterday and the siding guys are out there now capping off our windows and doors. We didn't get to put up the tree, so I have a tiny silver tree from Urban Outfitters on the end table and our presents underneath. Our stockings are up, which I love. I even have a tiny one for Hank.
Up next: we have to find a dining room table. We're having a hard time, as it seems difficult to find anything less than $3,000, which we don't really have. Wickes, Harlem, Ashley, and every other place we looked were a bust. We're currently looking at a table from Crate & Barrel. The table itself isn't too expensive, but the chairs are, and you can't really get a wood-finish table and then find cheaper chairs at another store -there's no way the finishes will match. We have pretty traditional tastes, nothing modern, nothing ornate. Just a basic table. Any suggestions are much appreciated. This is the table we like from C&B.