Put a fork in it, Christmas 2021 is in the books.
I’m looking over our first significant (plow-able) snow of the season while typing this post. Writing, sipping on a cup of coffee and admiring our white backyard is a great way to recover after finding the driveway with the help of young Chris across the street. Snow removal on the deck will be tackled later.
Our calendar was, as always, full during the weeks and days leading up to and including Christmas. Beth and R Dub put up Christmas lights on the house a couple of weekends prior to December, however, for the sake of the neighbors and the electric bill they were not lit until December 2nd. The solar timer set to light them up from dusk to dawn.
On December 4, the tree is assembled, lit and decorated while wearing our new matching Christmas PJs! How old are we? None of your business! We’ve been living our second childhood since 2017, and it is wonderful!
December 4 was a double Christmas day. We are fans of live entertainment. Whether it be a national touring band, comedian or theatrical show or a community production, we love it. As most people who know us are aware; we participate in, are patrons of, and regular consumers of live productions at the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre’s Fine Arts Center.
We also, however, have become fond of a very small venue in Slinger, Wisconsin called The Kettle Moraine Playhouse. If you are not familiar with the venue, it is quite intimate between the performers and the audiences. 64 seats strong on two floors. Quite small. We typically buy tickets in the balcony, front row, right wing.
We bought tickets for the December 4, 2021 matinee performance of “Another Night Before Christmas” a musical with only two performers written by Sean Grennan and Leah Okimoto. It is a classic tale of one person who no longer believes and is turned around by stranger with a few timely miracles. Fun and inspiring. We loved it.
On day 7 of our twelve days of Christmas series we highlighted R Dub’s role as George Bailey in the radio production of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” What was not chronicled was a side project from the same story. R Dub and co-actor in the show Amy Hopp who played the part of adult Mary (Hatch) Bailey joined forces on December 9th to record a video dramatic reading of “It’s A Wonderful Life” for the Juneau Public Library in Juneau, Wisconsin. The video is used for the children’s department.
December 10 marked the date that Ron’s daughter Riane and her guy Michael arrival in Wisconsin for an early Christmas with Michael’s family in Racine, then to our ranch in Beaver Dam and back to California’s Bay Area where they live via a flight out of Madison, WI.
Beth and I met up with the kids and Michael’s family for Mexican food in Racine on the evening of Saturday, December 11th, then we headed to Milwaukee late evening for a stay at the historic Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. Why? For a Sunday December 12 performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Pabst Theater. We also took advantage of the hotel’s proximity to the venue to do some Christmas shopping at the equally historic Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward and lunch at Beth’s favorite place Conejito’s Place on 5th and Virginia.
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of “A Christmas Carol” at the historic Pabst Theater. A great venue for a classic tale. R Dub wanted badly to take photos of the awesome revolving set, but thought better of it. If you’ve never seen it and live close to Milwaukee, this is a must see. Our seats were perfect. Row 4, center section main floor. It felt like we could reach out and touch the performers when they were down stage, plus several members of the cast entered the stage from the auditorium. Frequently running by us on the way to their entrances. We are so glad we went!
December 14, Riane and Michael travel to Beaver Dam to spend a day with R Dub. We exchanged gifts, ate at Benvenudo’s Italian Grill, took a stroll through BD’s Christmas light displays at Swan Park and finished the traditional Christmas jigsaw puzzle before turning in.
Due to a freak wind storm the evening of December 15, the kids flights were cancelled and rescheduled for December 16. The bonus, Beth got home that evening so the kids were able to see both Beth and the final dress rehearsal of “It’s A Wonderful Life” before heading to the Madison airport dark and early on Thursday December 16th.
December 17, 18 and 19. Live performances of an old time radio production of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
December 21 is gift exchange and dinner at Benvenudo’s Italian Grill with my eldest Alyssa and her guy Trevor. The gift of clothing is received, some thermal boot socks and a nice pullover sweatshirt. Always needed and welcome headed into a cold and snowy Wisconsin winter.
December 22. Madison comes to BD for an extended visit! Beth comes home this day for our long Christmas holiday time off. R Dub and Beth together 4 consecutive days and no work for the second time in as many weeks. Pretty rare.
Madison spends the evening with us to catch up. Thursday December 23 is a full day with Madison and an overnight stay. Breakfast at Edith’s Cafe and Catering for the final time before they close the doors for good after Christmas. Dinner at Benvenudo’s Italian Grill followed by a stroll through the Swan Park Christmas light displays. There is some familiarity and a theme here isn’t there?
The morning of December 24, Christmas Eve finds us in the kitchen making breakfast for Madison and us, plus a nice turkey, potato dumplings, glazed carrots and turkey gravy meal to enjoy and give as gifts this evening.
Christmas Eve candle light service was at a church that Beth’s brother John goes to. It is a nondenominational church called Riverglen Christian Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They have a campus in Pewaukee too. The praise band is the featured part of service with the lead pastor Ben Davis giving a sermon that featured the word Joy and why we as Christians rejoice the coming of the light of the world with the birth or Jesus.
While the sermon was brilliant and uplifting, the whole praise band ‘show’ type atmosphere is one that R Dub has had trouble warming up to. A sign of my advancing age, perhaps? But I like the structure of a traditional service and a choir in the loft.
I think my main issue with the praise band is this; while they put the lyrics up on the megatron video displays (and usually turn the pages a little too slow) there is no score. You know, the musical notes. Praise bands are similar to lounge singers, they change the songs slightly and it is difficult to sing along plus you can’t hear the congregation sing due to the high volume of the band amplifiers. It takes away from true congregational involvement in the service. Most people stand and listen as opposed to what I prefer. An open hymnal and most of the flock singing along. Ok, I am getting too old…but that’s OK.
After service we went with John to a nice Japanese hibachi grill called Asiana in Pewaukee. We each had a different Thai entree. Fog was extremely thick on Christmas Eve night, call for Rudolph! We chose wisely to spend the night with brother John.
The fog lifted by morning, so back to BD we go! Gift exchange with Madison in the morning, listened to the rebroadcast of “It’s A Wonderful Life” on WBEV, an afternoon dinner with Madison’s father and extended family, watched the Packers beat the Browns…and a much needed rest. Woah. That’s a full day.
That’s a full month! Merry belated Christmas from Beth and R Dub everyone!
2 thoughts on “Christmas Wrap Up – A Wonderfully Busy December”
Thank you for the update on your busy holiday time! Was glad to be a part of it with the radio show. Getting to see Riane was an added bonus! Love you my dear friends!
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Thank you Diane for casting me as George Bailey. You know how much I love this story and this weary character. Mary was the true hero of the tale, you know! Love you my dear!