(I PROMISE you these pictures look best when viewed on Xanga–so if you’re reading this on Facebook, just click on the following link: https://www.xanga.com/serenitymine)

You wanted pictures?  I’ve got pictures!    The last couple of weeks have been EXHAUSTING…but in a good way!  The frantic level of activity, responsibility and deadlines have sent my world spinning, leaving my brain (“Oy, my aching brain!”) feeling something like this:

But they’ve been good weeks–memorable weeks–and some of the highlights are featured below.

The Season of Lights officially began a little over a week ago with an evening of singing at Kandern’s Christmas festival.  The ensemble’s preparations were predictably less-than-sane…as in: who downed the three gallons of spiked eggnog??

And then it was off to Kandern’s small but cozy Christmas market.  We made a bit of a noisy splash on the otherwise quiet and rain-drenched night…and I’m not just talking about our performance!  The travel to and from the Blumenplatz was actually more fun, in many ways, than the actual set of carols we sang for a solid WALL of umbrellas held up like shields by a throng of BFAers.  (Question:  Uhm, should they maybe–possibly–have let some German neighbors through to the front rows?!  Just curious…)

(One of my very favorite pictures of the year…)

Then came BFA’s basketball games, during which an odiferous (ie. noxious smelling) mass of semi-naked male students decided that nudity might make us win a game or two.  Their ingenuity failed miserably.  Just so you know, Kristoff (middle) had to move on to Plan B when the body paint ran out.  He sidled up to the concession stand and used ketchup and mustard to decorate himself.  Those smells, combined with the already-present wild-animal fumes, nearly made me throw up in my mouth.  Seriously. 

What nearly made me lose control over my last exposed nerve was the fact that several of the hysterical boys were supposed to be involved in the next big activity of the weekend: the High School Christmas concert.  Jackson ended up voiceless the day after the game (the day before the concert) and ended up being introduced to yet another version of Aunt Michele–this one was the lightning-bolt glaring, thundering-silence bearing tyrant whose reaction to “But Miss Phi-Phi, it’s only choir” very nearly equaled Chernobyl’s implosion.  I refrained from inflicting any physical harm on anyone, but I’m pretty sure a couple of ulcers sprang leaks from the effort!

They sang like squawking rhinos during the morning service…but they made up for it with a near-flawless afternoon concert.

I was immensely relieved, even though a couple of the rubber gloves that were merely supposed to be snapped for comic relief during a satirical song ended up being launched into the air and floating to the stage floor like manic-depressive balloons. 

The finale was all I expected: 

52 high school singers + 53 middle school singers + 9 strings players
Happy Me

And then it was off to Storch dorm for its Christmas party.  It started off with a general balloon-stomping brawl.  (Too much testosterone in that GIRLS’ dorm!!)

We then had the traditional White Elephant Gift Exchange, which turned into a White Elephant Plotting, Pouncing and Pouting extravaganza.  Sandee–dorm mom and keep-it-real specialist–delivered the final blow by unrepentantly stealing a tacky red star away from the Korean contingent:

They were just a tad upset… 

But it was back to fun and games soon enough…except maybe in Erin’s world.

Three lovely ladies performed “Rudolph” for us.  Did you know reindeer were Asian?  They are.  Seriously.

It was a warm and c
omfy evening…just the way I like them.

The next day?  Lunch for 13 at school, then dinner for 10 at home!  Taylor was kind enough to head home with me (after Candlelight Dinner auditions) to lend a hand in getting the food ready.  She particularly enjoyed launching chocolate shavings at the cake (and across the kitchen) in order to cover the sides of the cake too!  It was called “Chocolate Delirium,” by the way, and I’m pretty sure it lived up to its name…

Have I mentioned how much I love those evenings of sitting around the living room and decompressing from the craziness with some good conversation and even better company?  This picture says it all:

My camera changed hands so often that evening that I don’t know who is responsible for the following shots, but I think they’re just fantastic…

Last event of the past couple of weeks:  A visit to the Colmar Christmas Market with Mari Ellen.  Sigh….ain’t nothing more beautiful or Christmassy than a good European Christmas market!

This little girl got it right: eat first, then think about taking in the sights!

Colmar is a magical town.

And its hand-crafted wares are fabulous.  I now own one of those green-topped towers!  (Thank you, Mari Ellen!)

(Nothing says Christmas like a pair of goat butts.)

And then it was off to the Buffalo Grill, a favorite restaurant of mine.  Except that I only had a vague recollection of where it was, and Mari Ellen doubted her own sense of directions too much to actually follow her gut instincts…so we circled the city and saw its Statue of Liberty a few too many times as we retraced our steps and FINALLY found a wonderfully helpful gentleman who guided us, weary and hungry, to the faux-American promised land we sought.  And I think we only went a few hundred kilometers out of the way to get there, so, you know….   The fries were yummy. 

(There are even more pictures on Facebook, if you want to browse through entire photo albums of the events depicted above…!  Just don’t read by blog entries there.  And yes, there’s a bit of a mixed message between this post’s introduction and conclusion.  )



  1. Let’s do it again soon!

  2. I think it’s hilarious how you start your entry telling people to go to go to xanga and end it with a reference to facebook .

  3. Love your pics! Colmar is so beautiful, and Kandern at Christmas… miss it so much!

  4. MS. PHOENIX!!!!

    i’m leaving tommorrow for CH.  and i’m coming to see you, i hope.

    and i’m bringing all of my cameras.

    i can tell you right now that i’ll be in the mood for an enormous amount of mischief, complete with wrist rockets and skinny dipping in december.  just a heads-up.

    i miss you.  stargirl misses you.


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