The Old Buzzard Turns 68 Years Young

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ~Mary Ellen Chase

It's That Time Again... And We Kept Busy

Did You Know: December 16th, 1944??

Korean Lunch

Paul's 68th birthday
A new dining experience for the kids... Korean

Did You Know? - Korean cuisine originated from prehistoric traditions in the Korean peninsula evolving through a complex interaction of environmental, political, and cultural trends.

Korean cuisine is largely based upon rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes (banchan) that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi is served often, sometimes at every meal. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and gochujang (fermented red chili paste).

Paul's 68th birthday
Great meal for a cold winter day

Off To The Nutcracker In Long Beach... Complete With Backstage Passes

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Act I

Scene 1: The Silberhaus Home

It is Christmas Eve. Family and friends have gathered in the parlor to decorate the beautiful Christmas tree in preparation for the night's festivities. Once the tree is finished, the younger children are sent for. The children stand in awe of the tree sparkling with candles and decorations.

The festivities begin. A march is played. Presents are given out to the children. Suddenly, as the owl-topped clock strikes eight, a mysterious figure enters the room. It is Herr Drosselmeyer, a local councilman, magician, and Clara and Fritz's godfather. He is also a talented toymaker who has brought with him gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls who dance to the delight of all. Drosselmeyer then has the precious dolls put away for safekeeping.

Clara and Fritz are sad to see the dolls taken away, but Drosselmeyer has yet another toy for them: a wooden nutcracker carved in the shape of a little man, used for cracking hazelnuts. The other children ignore it, but Clara immediately takes a liking to it. Fritz, however, purposely breaks the toy. Clara is heartbroken.

During the night, after everyone else has gone to bed, Clara returns to the parlor to check on her beloved nutcracker. As she reaches the little bed, the clock strikes midnight and she looks up to see Drosselmeyer perched atop the clock in place of the owl. Suddenly, mice begin to fill the room and the Christmas tree begins to grow to dizzying heights. The Nutcracker also grows to life-size. Clara finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of Gingerbread man soldiers and the mice, led by the Mouse King. The mice begin to eat the gingerbread soldiers.

The Nutcracker appears to lead the gingerbread soldiers, who are joined by tin soldiers and dolls who serve as doctors to carry away the wounded. As the Mouse King advances on the still-wounded Nutcracker, Clara throws her slipper at him, distracting him long enough for the Nutcracker to stab him.

Scene 2: A Pine Forest

The mice retreat and the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome Prince. He leads Clara through the moonlit night to a pine forest in which the snowflakes dance around them.

Paul's 68th birthday

Act II

Scene 1: The Land of Sweets

Clara and the Prince travel in a nutshell boat pulled by dolphins to the beautiful Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Prince's place until his return. The Prince recounts for the Sugar Plum Fairy how he had been saved by Clara from the Mouse King and had been transformed back into a Prince.

In honor of the young heroine, a celebration of sweets from around the world is produced: chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, and tea from China all dance for their amusement; candy canes from Russia; Danish shepherdesses perform on their flutes; Mother Gigogne has her children emerge from under her enormous skirt to dance; a string of beautiful flowers perform a waltz. To conclude the night, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a dance.

A final waltz is performed by all the sweets, after which Clara and the Prince are crowned rulers of The Land of Sweets. Soon, however, the people of the land of the sweets begin to disappear one by one, until the Nutcracker Prince himself disappears, and Clara is found sleeping in the parlor. The Nutcracker Doll is under the Christmas tree. Clara awakes, thinking it was all a dream, but then finds her crown sitting beside her, leading to question, was it a dream? She walks to the Christmas tree and takes her Nutcracker, going back to sleep, the implication being that if it was all a dream, that she would want to keep dreaming.

Backstage

Paul's 68th birthday
The backstage was full

Paul's 68th birthday
Amazingly small area to store everything

Paul's 68th birthday
The Weasel went here seventeen years ago.....

Paul's 68th birthday
The stage was full

Paul's 68th birthday
Fascinating to see the inner workings

Paul's 68th birthday
We were 7th row center.... Perfect seats

Paul's 68th birthday
The Spanish ladies

Paul's 68th birthday
The cannon really made a boom

Paul's 68th birthday
Gives new meaning to "Sitting on the throne"

Paul's 68th birthday
Sue loved the digitals.... equipment everywhere

Paul's 68th birthday
Paul learned about this in Stage Crew in Junior High School

Did You Know? - A proscenium is the area of a theatre surrounding the stage opening. A proscenium arch is the arch over this area.

In ancient Rome, the stage area in front of the scaenae frons was known as the "proscenium", meaning "in front of the scenery". In the Roman theater, no proscenium arch existed, in the modern sense. However, Roman theaters were similar to modern proscenium theaters in the sense that the entire audience had a restricted range of views on the stage--all of which were from the front, rather than the sides or back.

Paul's 68th birthday
Pull a cord and see what happens....

Next Stop... Preveza (A Great Place To Dine)

Paul's 68th birthday
Saganaki for all

Did You Know? - Saganaki (Greek σαγανάκι) refers to various Greek dishes prepared in a small frying pan, itself called a saganaki, the best-known being an appetizer of fried cheese.

In many United States and Canadian restaurants, after being fried, the saganaki cheese is flambéed at the table (sometimes with a shout of "opa!"), and the flames then extinguished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

This is called "flaming saganaki" and apparently originated in 1968 at The Parthenon restaurant in Chicago's Greektown, based on the suggestion of a customer to owner Chris Liakouras.

Paul's 68th birthday
Pour on the cognac young man... It's warming up the room

Paul's 68th birthday
Decision time

Paul's 68th birthday
Jon figured out what he wants

Paul's 68th birthday
Saganaki is served....

Paul's 68th birthday
Greg is preparing for his speech

Paul's 68th birthday
Love the tiny Santa hat

Paul's 68th birthday
Greg is hiding

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
Zack confers with Robin

Paul's 68th birthday
Having a great time

Paul's 68th birthday
' Yes... I am behaving"

Paul's 68th birthday
Nick gets the elbow if he misbehaves

Paul's 68th birthday
We had the long long table

Paul's 68th birthday
The lady knows her wine

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
"Nuts????"

Paul's 68th birthday
"Robin and Bob are up to something!"

Paul's 68th birthday
"I am puzzled.... What could it be"

Paul's 68th birthday
"What could it be???"

Paul's 68th birthday
I wonder....

Paul's 68th birthday
It's a battle and the package is winning

Paul's 68th birthday
Super.... My saying

Paul's 68th birthday
"Yes it is!!!"

Paul's 68th birthday
So the other end of the table can see it....

Paul's 68th birthday
For the short people

Paul's 68th birthday
Indeed

Paul's 68th birthday Paul's 68th birthday Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
A card????

Paul's 68th birthday
It's a Pete card.... That means a monkey!!!

Paul's 68th birthday
Everyone gets a giggle out of this one

Paul's 68th birthday
Sue was howling it was so funny

Paul's 68th birthday
The cards makes the rounds

Paul's 68th birthday
Son Pete.... He knows how to pick 'em

Paul's 68th birthday
Robin says open a card....

Paul's 68th birthday
M-m-m-m-m-m What is it?

Paul's 68th birthday
Paul needs longer arms

Paul's 68th birthday
It's a good one

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
Fun for all

Paul's 68th birthday
Oh oh... The fickle finger of fate

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
Jon, Pete, and Paul.... Three generations

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
Greg provides the entertainment

Paul's 68th birthday
Getting his notes ready to go....

Paul's 68th birthday
A story of olden times.... We remember them well

Paul's 68th birthday
The Poet Laureate of Preveza

Paul's 68th birthday
Sue and grandson Nick teasing each other

Paul's 68th birthday
What is he thinking???

Paul's 68th birthday
Mitch and Luisa

Paul's 68th birthday
James and Linda

Paul's 68th birthday
Pete and Lisa

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
Three sons... Three grandsons ... Wish Joe and the boys were here...

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
Crazy face time

Paul's 68th birthday
We needed James to join the fun... Rent a son

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday

Paul's 68th birthday
Mitch and Sue catch up on recent events

Paul's 68th birthday
"Mr. B's??? Sure!"

The Kids Go To Mr. B's... The Adults Go To Old Ranch Country Club

Paul's 68th birthday
"B" was waiting for us....

Paul's 68th birthday
Teri had Shaun under control

Paul's 68th birthday
"B" dressed up Paul's wine bottle

Paul's 68th birthday
Ice cream also.....

Paul's 68th birthday
James had to comment on my loss of diet

Paul's 68th birthday
Wine and ice cream...

Paul's 68th birthday
Linda and Sue

Paul's 68th birthday
Paul attempts to levitate the wine glasses using his newly acquired powers

Paul's 68th birthday
Success... with a little help from the hands

Paul's 68th birthday
Shaun is about to be bad... You can see it in his eyes

Paul's 68th birthday
That's what Shaun gets for saying he is trying to loose 117 pounds!

Paul's 68th birthday