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May 19, 2002: To excess

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I got home at 1:30 this morning. By the end of the drive I wasnít just singing along at the top of my lungs with the radio to keep myself awake, I was also car dancing to the best of my ability, pinging around in my seat, tossing my head from side to side, shimmying in my bucket seat. Somehow I made it home, pulled into the garage without hitting anything, and crawled upstairs into bed. Granted this means Iíve been a zombie most of the day, at least until after church, which we couldnít skip because I was singing a solo as part of the anthem, plus it was the instrumental ensembleís turn to play and my oboe carries the soprano section. It was an incredibly long day, with an awful lot of driving on my part (it started with a quick stop in Berkeley to meet Beth and Sabs' new son, and continued on in San Jose, Saratoga, and a lot of other Bay Area locations - a far jaunt from my Sacramento-valley home), but it was definitely worth it.

I got home so late because we went out for pie after the show. Richardís aunt wanted pie, and the rest of us went along to be social (thatís my story and Iím sticking to it). The fact that they had pecan pie and I got it ala mode has no relevance to anything, trust me.

The pie was after a few hours spent watching a melodrama that made up in enthusiasm what it lacked in plot. There was vaudeville too, although none of the male actors could ever be accused of actually being able to sing. The melodrama had a villain that the audience cheerfully booed, a hero who shared the intelligence of your average brick (but we cheered him anyway), and a heroine who fluttered her eyelashes in a convincingly helpless manner. The five of us got into a small popcorn-flinging battle during the intermission. Considering that the audience was provided popcorn for the express purpose of flinging it at the stage, this wasnít as large a faux pas as it might otherwise appear.

The vaudeville and melodrama were preceded by a few hours of wandering, peering into shop windows and trying to walk off the feast weíd just consumed over an hour or so spent at a fondue restaurant. It began with salad, and continued with two kinds of cheese fondue (we all agreed that the swiss with roasted garlic was the best). Next came the meat, either cooked in a vegetable broth or grilled in copious amounts of garlic butter, and finally they brought us bittersweet chocolate fondue.

By the time we got to the dessert portion of the fondue-fest, we were all well past full, but that never matters when faced with chocolate - especially chocolate of the dark and melted variety. It took quite a bit of effort but we managed to finish off those two pots of chocolate with strawberries, apple chunks, marshmallows, cheesecake balls, pieces of Snickers bars, squares of pound cake, oranges, and cookies. We even had to request more dipping items to accomplish that rather amazing feat.

The entire trip was a girlsí day out for all the females-in-law and myself. Both Silís and my mom and aunt-in-law piled into one car to partake of far too much food (although never enough chocolate), laughing, boisterous teasing, contemplation over which waiter would be best dipped in the aforementioned chocolate, and fun. This is the first time Iíve been able to participate since I simply cannot make it down there on weekday nights, and Iíd been looking forward to this ever since the plans began. Hanging out with my females-in-law is just like having a girlsí day out with my mom and my sisters, and with our busy schedules and the physical distances between my mom and sisters and I, Iíve missed that, a lot.

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