Hope everyone had a delightful 25th of December, regardless of whether or not you were celebrating a holiday that day. This was my first year having it away from the bulk of my family, which I worried about a bit leading up to it, but as it turned out, it was much
less stressful than the endless socializing with people who I largely don't know that tends to happen when I go home to spend the holiday with my parents — my stepmom loves to entertain, and feels that us kids need to be CELEBRATING ALL THE TIME for our entire visit, otherwise Christmas Is Ruined. Basically, she's a huge extrovert, and my dad and all his kids are huge introverts, and the clash always seems to result in major tension. I missed seeing my youngest brother and grandparents, but I think I made the right decision staying home, especially after the breakdown I had after travelling back home for Thanksgiving.
I had a delightfully low-key Christmas here with my younger-but-not-youngest brother. Our original plan — me going into Brooklyn to celebrate with him and a couple of his friends who also didn't have family in town — was derailed with the gal who was hosting it had a family emergency and had to fly down to Georgia.
So after a bit of texting back and forth, we decided to hold Christmas at my place, just the two of us, and have a sort of mini version of our family's Japanese New Year's feast (more based on family tradition than actual Japanese New Year's food as the years have gone by) Then we planned to go and see Into the Woods
. And so we did. He made the scarlet shrimp, I made the sesame green beans and namasu, and we made inari sushi together, going off of Baachan's notes for sushi rice seasoning. She was known as one of the best sushi makers in the Twin Cities back in the day, and did her best to pass down her knowledge to the grandkids before she passed away.
So we did that, cooking the meal together and then sitting down for deliciousness accompanied by green tea and decidedly un-Japanese Smoking Bishop
because I was intrigued by the idea of Victorian-era alcoholic beverages. Then hanging out a bit before the movie, while I tried to explain how fandom worked to my brother and he vented a bit about his new job as a sort of all-purpose assistant at one of the major NYC performance spaces (apparently the latest artist they've worked with is an alcoholic, entitled asshole).Into the Woods
was very, very good, by the way. Yes, there are some cuts, but they're done so smoothly that you don't even notice they're there until you stop and think, "Wait, didn't Cinderella have more songs?" And much of the darker themes and scenes made it through, much to the surprise of both me and my brother, and because Red Riding Hood and Jack are played by actual children, some scenes get extra resonance that they don't have in the stage show. Meryl Streep as the Witch hams it up delightfully, and most of the rest of the cast is excellent. The Narrator isn't a character, but much of the narration in the first act makes it through intact, and the tie-in at the end to it is a very nice way of tying everything together. The Baker's Father is also largely cut as a character, but again, the rejiggering of everything means that you don't really notice his absence.
And also! I got a fabulous Les Mis Dallas fic
for Yuletide! As pilferingapples
noted, you can totally tell which of the Les Mis Dallas fics (four of them! Such luxury!) is meant for me, because this one really did hit all my buttons of warm, fuzzy, found family feelings.