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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Precedent of Presidents Day

Last weekend was Presidents Day weekend, and we were not going out of town.  Two months ago I was not expecting to get away before May, but at the beginning of the week, we thought it might be a possibility.  However, it would appear that our clients thought we would be much happier in town, and gave us plenty to keep us occupied until late Friday, and Dana was going to have to be in the office for at least part of Monday.

Saturday morning was taken up with the usual few hours of housework, during which time I spent over an hour on the telephone to my sister.  Like a couple of teenagers, we discussed how, when she got her blackberry, we would be able to message to our hearts content, admitting that spending hours on the telephonic device would not be because we had so much to say, but because we would take rather a long time to say it.  Typing with my thumbs, I do not achieve the same speeds as with my fingers.

Samantha had asked me to go with her to the vet.  The dog had a small spot on his 'unmentionable', that had become rather bigger during the week.  As she had booked him in to have his nails clipped, she decided she would mention this delicate matter to the vet.  I was going to drive.  I am allowed to drive occasionally, but am ever grateful to Samantha, because if she was not next to me, to tell me how to do so, I would be in terrible trouble, and possibly still in the carport, wondering how to operate the four wheel vehicle.  It would appear that I did quite well as I was only reprimanded a couple of times.  As we turned off the freeway, onto the road that is home to the veterinarian, the dog jumped off Samantha's lap, and into the back of the car.  As we drove into the driveway of the surgery, he backed further into the corner, and would not go to Samantha when she called him. 

Avoiding the front door of the vets is obviously a very well orchestrated procedure, in the mind of our little quadruped.  Jumping out of the car, he pulled Samantha to the tree to the right of the door, then back again to the far left.  Trying to get him into the door was similar to getting those tiny ball barrings into the holes in the executive toy puzzles.  Fortunately 18lbs is no contest for two grown women, and we managed, somehow, to pull him into the foyer, and into the consultation room.  'Look no hands,' took on a whole new meaning, as Samantha let go of the dog, and he clung to her, not wanting to go onto the table.  The vet and his assistant were very patient, and they chatted to Samantha as she held the poor animal down.  However, she then had to explain to these two gentlemen about the 'other problem', the little spot that was on his manly part.  What happened next was highly traumatic.  The vet scraped and dug, dug and scraped, dabbed and blotted, blotted and dabbed, and eventually, I had to sit down and take a sip of water.  The dog seemed rather unperturbed!  It was possible that he just went to his 'happy place', and decided that there was resistance was useless.

Waiting for the bill, and antibiotics, in the reception area, a large black and white collie came up to me and dropped a ball at my feet.  Thinking he wanted to play, I kicked the ball along the hallway.  I don't really have an insight into canine brain activity, but whatever is the equivalent of 'silly cow' in dog talk, would probably be a good guess as to his thought to my action. 

I really don't know who was more relieved to leave.  Frank had experienced rather unpleasant surgery, whilst Samantha had experienced open wallet surgery.  I had been made to feel two inches tall by a dog! 

With the afternoon well underway, Samantha and I hit Walmart after dropping the dog at home, (after turning him into a lampshade, having him fitted with a cone to stop him nibbling at the tender area,) and returned with just enough time for me to get ready for a cultured night out.

Dana had managed to purchase tickets to the symphony, and we had to be at the box office at 7pm.  It was a special performance featuring Anna Akiko Meyers, a well known musician, who now resides in our beloved Austin.  Being totally unfamiliar with violinists, the news of our pending evening entertainment did not have the desired effect.  When Dana mentioned she was going to be playing a Stradivarius which was reportedly owned by Napoleon, and one which she had bought at an auction for a reported record $3.6 million, it was probably unwise to say the first thing that came into my head.  'That much for a second-hand violin, how much does a new one cost?', took the edge off Dana's excitement when he originally expressed how fortunate we were to get tickets at such a late hour. 

However, once dressed, and wearing my usual minimal make up and high heels for special occasions, I was very much looking forward to our evening.  We drove to the theatre and remembered that it was not beneficial to park on the lower level by the exit.  We noticed that the majority of the cars had backed into the spaces, ready for a quick exit.  Taking note of this, we joined the initiated and pretended to be seasoned ticket holders. We attended the 'talk before', and I was quite delighted to hear that one of sections was featuring the composer Prokofiev.  Now who was feeling smug!  Bet the 'know it all' dog didn't know who Prokofiev was!  Once again my dustbin mind came to the rescue.  'Peter and the Wolf', I exclaimed excitedly, only to be told that it was a piece with which I was not familiar.  (No need to tell the dog). 

Taking our seats for the performance was somewhat of a challenge.  Dana had thought that we had previously been seated in the first balcony, instead of the mezzanine.  Up and up we went.  The air was getting thinner and I was looking for the oxygen masks.  Once seated, I spent ten minutes looking for my seat belt; after all, if we were this high, we really needed to be strapped in.  I sent Samantha a message to say we were in our seats. and ready for the show to begin. She asked; 'how high'.  I replied, 'my earrings are falling out of my ears'.  She responded, 'Wow, that high!!'  Fortunately, as more people entered our section, the more secure I felt.  After all, as I was 'falling forward', I felt I would at least have a reasonably soft landing. 

The first violinist arrived on the stage to wild applause, followed by the conductor.  Determined not to fidget, I settled back in my seat and started to enjoy the music.  It was going to be a night of 'fortunately' for some and 'unfortunately' for others.  Unfortunately for those around, I am going through my 'personal summer', and my temperature started to rise.  I removed my jacket.  Fortunately, someone in the row in front was videoing the performance, which took the attention from my fidgeting.  Unfortunately, my temperature did not dip, and my shoes were kicked off, rather haphazardly.  Fortunately, they didn't quite slip down the gap in between the rows, but I wasn't sure about my toe-socks.  I don't suppose I would mind asking the person in front if they would pass me my shoe, but to ask them to handle a little piece of semi-circle nylon, and explaining its use, may be asking slightly too much.  I am not sure I would 'find' it, if I was in their position!  Then the restless leg syndrome kicked in.  Etc, etc, etc. 

Whilst I was juggling enjoying the music, making sure my shoes were placed ready for wear, and controlling my fidgeting, the featured artist appeared on stage to rapturous applause.  I must admit that I have never quite heard anything like the sound that she managed to create when playing this magnificent instrument.  In fact, when she came back to the stage, after a third encore, and played Gershwin's 'Summertime', making it sound like there were several violins,  it was quite superb. 

My mind began to wander, and I wondered how the first violinist felt, having a renowned musician playing 'lead fiddle'.  I wondered how I would react. Would I ask, 'Can I have a go?' on the Stradivarius, and would I be so nervous that I would snap a string.  Visions of me saying, 'Oh my goodness, I am so sorry.  I don't know what to say', as I tripped up over my own feet and fell, smashing the handle off the antique, brought me back to reality very quickly.  'Only you would think that!', I could almost hear some of you say. As my mind came back from going into overtime. I went back to reading the programme.  Apparently the Orchestra's concert master's violin was also over a century old.  Perhaps she couldn't afford a new one either! 

The half time show was only for those who were experiencing nosebleeds and dizziness from the high altitude.  The man who had videotaping was being read the riot act by a couple whose enjoyment of the show had been ruined by the bright light shining in their eyes.  The film maker, totally ignoring the couple, moved across to another couple, and greeted them like long lost friends, asking how they were and relating the story of how a very annoying couple were distressing him with their constant harassment, regarding him watching the show through his camera screen to give him a better view.  He left the seating area and did not return, which was just as well as the theatre law enforcement officers (who were wearing their regulatory black twinsets with pearls, none young enough not to be drawing a pension) were waiting with baited breath to capture a rule breaker.  The young girl in front of us had been reprimanded for using her phone, and given a final warning.  Obviously she was part of crucially vital operation of some sort, and her input was critical, as she was constantly messaging throughout the performance.  Either that or she was forced to attend the concert, by her mother, and was very, very bored.  Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I will go with the former, although I think the white haired guardian of the first floor thought the latter. 

The second half was equally as enjoyable as the first, albeit without the appearance of the very expensive violin.  I wondered if the instruments other than the violins were as old, and as expensive.  I did hope that if the brass and woodwind were of similar age, the new owner would have at least changed the mouthpiece.  Amazing how complicated my brain can make a simple past time.

Having retrieved my shoes, my jacket and my hat, we left the building (without Elvis) and made our way to the car.  Those with more experience than us had already departed, but we managed to make a reasonably quick exit, and made our way to enjoy a late night snack at a late night restaurant. 

Sunday was spent nursing a migraine for most of the day, whilst my terribly talented daughter attempted to make a Baked Alaska, and achieved perfection.  Monday was spent baking carrot cake muffins and then some with spinach and cheese.  How Americanised am I!  Tuesday, despite being back at work, had it's moments of delight.  I received some junk mail.  I have arrived!!

I am looking forward to my next visit to the symphony, together with the additional half-time entertainment.  I am sure that will be....another story.

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