Christmas in Des Moines

It was a snowy, cold week in Des Moines. We had a long, long bus ride from Fayetteville on frosty roads to get to Iowa. There was an accident on the highway that caused us to have to detour onto a two lane highway for quite a while, but we finally arrived in the early evening to the Renaissance Savery in downtown Des Moines – the same hotel we stayed in when we played Des Moines in August of last year. 

Snowy trees on the way to Des Moines

Snowy trees on the way to Des Moines

After getting settled in, I headed over to The Royal Mile, my favorite Des Moines pub, for some bangers and mash. Then I watched a bunch of “Planet Earth” while I waited for Ryan to get home. Have you seen “Planet Earth”? I borrowed the DVDs from our prop guy, Scott, and they are amazing! I don’t know how they captured some of the things they did on film. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

On Tuesday we finished load-in. It was easy and quick, as we’d played the theater before. Tim, one of our ensemble guys, drove over and we loaded up his rental car with all the presents we had bought for the family we had adopted in town. It felt really good to be giving Christmas to a family in need. Everyone should do it if they can!

The show opened smoothly on Tuesday. It was a big friendly house. Afterwards there was an opening night party at the Court Brewery. Not as fun as the party we had there last year where everyone got drunk and silly, but the food was good, and you can never argue with free booze.

Wednesday we had the day off for Christmas eve. Ryan and I stayed in all day. I had caught a bit of a cold on the travel day, so we took it easy and hung out in the room, watching more “Planet Earth”! In the late afternoon, we got dressed up for the “Spamalot” Christmas party, which began with drinks in one of the ballrooms at the hotel, followed by dinner. After dinner (yummy roast beef), we congregated in Karl’s room (the giant penthouse on the top floor of the hotel) for dessert, drinks and to exchange our final Secret Santa gifts.

Mitchell and Suzanne at dinner

Mitchell and Suzanne at dinner

Ken and Matthew Greer's daughter, Miranda.

Ken and Matthew Greer's daughter, Miranda.

Angela was my Secret Santa – she gave me some gorgeous hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn along with a pattern book, some earrings, more chocolate and some wine. So generous! I was Mitchell’s Secret Santa, and he LOVED his punk rock knitted hat that I made him!

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The biggest hit of the party, though, was Mike Berg, our pyro guy, who dressed up as Santa Claus and passed out everyone’s presents. Everyone took turns sitting in his lap to get their photo taken. He was the perfect, perfect Santa.

Bergie Claus

Bergie Claus

The guys with Santa

The guys with Santa

You can see all my Christmas party photos here.

Paula and Cara

Paula and Cara

Annie, David and Lyn

Annie, David and Lyn

Christmas day was mellow – another stay-at-home day. We had a show that night and then gathered for drinks in the hotel bar afterwards. 

On Friday, the weather was warmer so Ryan and I ventured out. We had originally planned on going ice skating, but because of the warmer temperatures, there were giant puddles all over the ice rink, and skating through water didn’t look like so much fun. We instead walked up towards the Capitol building and looked in some of the shops along the way.

The ice rink

The ice rink

The snowy Capitol building

The snowy Capitol building

On Saturday the temperatures dropped again, and all the melted snow from the day before froze, leaving a sheet of ice across downtown. It was pretty treacherous walking to and from the theater as it was so slippery. The icicles on all the trees and street lamps were really beautiful though. I had never really seen the effects of an ice storm before, and although this one was very mild, it still left some really pretty visual effects.

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On Sunday we closed and on Monday I got up very, very early for the flight to Cincinnati where we will spend New Year’s. Wishing a happy 2009 to you and yours!

Tallulah, pooped after opening her presents.

Tallulah, pooped after opening her presents.

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