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Ah, the month that signifies the coming of the fall season and how dearly I am looking forward to that! It has been a hellish summer down here in "The Tidewater" area with all the miseries of heat, humidity, drought and then torrential rains. Are we having fun yet? The mosquitoes have grown to the size of eaglets this year and they are voracious! Is it any wonder that Autumn will be so welcome? It is a glorious (and very long) season here. Occasionally it lasts even into the beginning of December. The icing on the cake is MORE OPERA!
Continuing yesterday's thoughts about Fall, it seems that this month's "Openings" are myriad! It is the beginning of a new opera season and we are housing a promising young Romanian baritone for the season opener, La Boheme. He will arrive on September 7th, but the opera does not open until October 3rd. It is also the opening of the theatre season and it's lovely to have so much variety after the dog-day doldrums of summer. On top of all this activity, we are gearing up for Class Act's (my hubby's terrific barbershop quartet) FIRST District Competition! GO CLASS ACT!
I'm sitting here totally surrounded by books, VHS tapes and DVD's. They're on the desk. They burgeon out of the bookcases gracelessly spilling onto the floor. They cram the shelves! I have hung a sign on my office door that reads "TOXIC." It upsets my neatnik husband but it's MY office. The sign lets him know that I acknowledge my grave imperfections as a "housekeeper." To tell the truth, I have NEVER been a "housekeeper." I have lived in houses, raised children in houses, cooked in houses, but anyone that knows me will tell you I am absolutely NO HOUSEKEEPER!
Sigh . . . a day of dealing with Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and the black heart of Whoknowswhere!!!! It was a DARK day for the USA when they decided to outsource pretty much ALL customer service. You've guessed (SURPRISE!) there were computer problems. Nothing dire, just enough to throw us all into a tizzy! We had to deal with both the Server tech-rep AND the router tech-rep. When both of them had done there "stuff," we still couldn't get on the net until we reinstalled the router software. Drama heightens: THE DISC HAS GONE MISSING! Saga to continue on the morrow!
And merrily on we go . . . After returning from my shift at the Friend's Book Store (in the Central Library) and running several errands on the way home, I was TOTALLY TUCKERED OUT! My need to be reconnected with family and friends took precedence and I proceeded to start tearing apart the office seeking the hallowed prize of the Router Installation Disc. I ripped apart shelves, dumped out drawers, went through boxes, NOTHING! By now I was literally STAGGERING. Hubby says, "Hit the sack, you wouldn't know it if you saw it!" Grumbling, I sadly agreed and retired. Will continue tomorrow . . .
This morning, I made a critical run to the post office, and while I was gone, "the hubbs" started trying to sort through the incredible, SUPER-GIGANTIC mess I'd left in the office. (He's a stalwart kind of guy!) While sorting through the pig-pen, um, I mean office, he noticed a pile of "stuff" in my chair and his ogling eyes saw that perched RIGHT ON TOP was both the book and installation CD for the router. When I returned, he was grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat! Disc was reinstalled and YEAH, the internet works! Ain't life grand?
May I wish one and all a grand Labor Day holiday. We have a front moving along the coast and at 9:20 am it looks like midnight! It is also pouring. We attended a fantastic party/BBQ yesterday and the weather was marvelous. Different friends are planning one for today, but I foresee them moving their party indoors as this will be an "all-day weather-event" according to the "talking-heads" at the dratted weather channel. Personally, I wish they'd go back to Tex Antoine and Uncle Weatherbee who was funny, informative and it only took TEN MINUTES!
We have had over SIX INCHES of rain between yesterday and today! The dock and bulkhead are underwater and I'm growing green-mold under my armpits! I surely do hope that Apollo drives his sun-chariot across the heavens tomorrow for I am SATURATED! Had a fantastic dinner tonight here at la maison sur le lac by le grand chef, Mme Barri. It was pot de viande aux pommes de terre petit jardin et des carottes fraīches dans une sauce au vin. It was DEFINITELY a "FEEL GOOD" meal for a soggy, miserable day of torrential, non-stop rain!
We have now had over SIX INCHES of rain in the last TWO DAYS! GLUB . . .Today, thank-you-kindly, the sun is in a freshly washed bright blue sky and it looks amazing out there. I must stop with this computer and GET OUT WHERE LIFE'S HAPPENING! There is something extra-ordinarily weird going on. In the last week two friends - different coasts - have had THREE people (youngest was THRITY) apparently healthy, wind up in the hospital on Life Support. Two of those are already gone and one left FOUR kids! Our lives are far more fragile than we know!
I found out today that a dear friend has breast cancer. She's a nurse and has been fighting for over six months to see that the proper tests were done. She has had no cooperation from either her insurance company nor her physicians. This is a gal that KNOWS medicine. If she were not her own patient advocate, this cancer would never have been diagnosed. Health care in this once-great country is a total disaster! Not even medically-knowledgeable people can make it work and those that are uninformed or aren't able to be their own advocates are doomed!
It was the first beautiful September day since the month started, so sales at the Library Book Store where I volunteer were dismal. I almost felt like I wasted 4 1/4 hours! The time is really never wasted, I have my "regulars" and I was able to make two of them extremely happy today. . . so how could that possibly be a waste of time! Stopped on the way home and did dog-grocery shopping. Both my pups are on different home-made diets and it was time to do Cpl. "F's" raw food. Tons of quality ingredients AND WORK!
How could I NOT HAVE MENTIONED that yesterday was the 8th anniversary of the Great Tragedy of September 11th, 2001. Those planes and buildings are engraved upon my memory; and so many others - but I was a New Yorker, and I had been IN the Trade Centers. I watched them built! Then, unbelievably, I watched them fall. It was months before all my dreams were not endlessly seeing their doom! I still believe the TRUE heart of NY was seen that day. We're known for being tough but that terrible day our secret tenderness was revealed for all to see!
Just returned from breakfast and two of our usual crowd failed to show. Guess I'll call and check up on them. It seems that it will be another lovely day here in sunny, V.B. and the skies are bluer than blue! I have more dog-diets to prepare again today! Cpl. "F" still has a 10 lb. bag of chicken parts to be hacked up and mixed with eggs, chicken livers, gizzards, steak, beef heart and cottage cheese. It's quite a project, but I make enough so I only need to do it once monthly! He's a lucky pup!
Well, we have started the battle to update all our electronic pals! Today we went out and bought a 22" flat-screen to replace the little 13" color set in the breakfast room. We were going to order the big set's replacement too, but realized we needed to go home and measure a few things - like the receiver, the DVD player, etc., before we could obtain something for the new TV to sit on! So, we'll be back here again tomorrow with Deb driving her truck. That big ol' 50" plasma would absolutely NEVER fit in either of our cars!
Deb had great news when she picked us up! Her appointment with the doctor went well and she is tentatively scheduled for the knee-replacement surgery in January 2010! So, armed with measurements we headed back to Best Buy. The first salesman to "help" us had LOSER stamped on his forehead! The second was just as helpful and nice as the other was surly and uncaring! We had been told, "Sorry, none left" on FIVE different TV's! The second guy found our 1st choice quickly and also found us a GREAT deal on a base! WE TOOK THEM BOTH HOME!
Today, we called DirecTV and made our appointment to have our old satellite dish replaced with an HD dish and the new one also has TIVO! It will take me longer than my probable lifetime to learn how to USE all this new stuff! Our job for today was to empty the old TV cabinet. YIKES! We had TWO VHS machines, a DVD Player, a receiver, and external speakers. There were also ying yangs of DVDs and VHS tapes! There will be insufficient storage in the new cabinet, so we're going to have find a new location for those items!
Started today by hitting the T-shops with Nora and found some pretty good stuff. Came home and gave my hubby a haircut and then we went to see our old pal, Daryl and took care of business that we'd waited FAR too long to accomplish! Glad that's done! I AM SO BAD! I didn't mention that on the 16th, Ron's wonderful quartet, Class Act, helped us move the old 35" behemoth and its cabinet OUT and it's allegedly being picked up today by my friend and her strapping sons! We were amazed how much bigger the room looks now!
Also, yesterday evening, we saw "Ladies First," a delightful comedy at Little Theatre of Norfolk. It involved three "First Ladies" and two "second-ladies" who were destined to become first ladies themselves. The group was: Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy as well as Ladybird Johnson and Pat Nixon. Some marvelous dialogue, but I don't think the authors of this play hit the right note with Jackie Kennedy. I lived through all the Camelot years and I simply found her stage behavior at a total variant to what I knew of her. Ah well - Theatre will be Theatre!
Seems as if I'm running a day behind! Had to mention that yesterday at the Friends Shop, I sold almost $250.00 worth of books! Tonight we are bound for Sandbridge and a barbershopping lasagna party! Sounds like it should be lots of fun. I'm almost positive at this point that ALL the quartet wives I will attend and for this group, that's unusual. I heard that our bassman wasn't feeling terrific, Hope he recuperates fast! The party is really just an excuse for another night of barbershop harmony! I'm hoping for a nice long walk along the beach too!
We've been looking forward to Sunset on the River for weeks! It is generally acknowledged as the "official start" of the Virginia Opera season. Well tonight's SPECTACULAR opener will go down as legendary. It was a HUGE show and they threw it open to anyone that wanted to come - NO MONEY INVOLVED! It was an absolutely PERFECT fall evening and almost 3,000 folks showed up to listen on blankets and chairs as it was staged at the new "Waterside" facility in Norfolk, VA. The Opera Guild had their own tent with comfy chairs, wine and wonderful catered food! PERFECT!
Continuing yesterday's piece, I admit that I wasn't too thrilled with sharing Sunset on the River at first. Most Guild members, I believe, were at least a little reticent to give up their "private party." I gladly, even joyously admit how very wrong I was! Opera NEEDS people that have never heard it to listen and learn. They need devotees in younger age groups. This is not to say that older operaphiles are less valuable, but for our beloved art form to survive into the future, appreciation must come from those that will survive the demise of our own generation!
I've been thinking quite a lot about the passage of time. This isn't terribly surprising since tomorrow will be our 47th wedding anniversary. Perhaps, even more surprising is that we've known each other longer than that - fifty years, to be exact! I can remember so many tiny details of that wonderful day we were wed, but the years afterwards seemed to gather supersonic speed! Before I ever suspected it would happen, my children were born, grown and gone and my grandchildren are living in a new century. My parents are gone . . . and I now represent the generation on the brink.
The strains of "Here Comes the Bride" from Wagner's Lohengrin, the jumble of faces, tears on my own face that signified overwhelming joy, the repetition of vows, the triumphant strains of Mendelssohn's bridal march from Midsummer Night's Dream . . . it was all coming true! I had dreamed it a thousand times but reality was SO very much better! It amazes me that I did not simply burst with happiness! Now, time has told its truth, our teenage marriage survived it all! We still love each other, and I believe we would make that same trip down the aisle through countless lifetimes!
Continuing with yesterday's theme, we dined out to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and I had the chance to be extraordinarily surprised! We'd decided on trying the new seafood restaurant at Town Centre, McCormick and Schmick's. As we entered, we were greeted and immediately seated in a private curtained booth. When the waiter brought menu's, Ron ordered our wine and asked the waiter to remove my menu. He looked up, smiled and said, "You won't need that." That ANGEL had called the restaurant the day before and had them fly in a TWO POUND LOBSTER! I will NEVER forget that meal!
WOW, WHAT A WEEK THIS HAS BEEN! I didn't even mention that on the 21st, we had lunch at P.F. Changs on a gift certificate that my uncle sent us! Tonight the fun continued! We saw a MARVELOUS show at Little Theatre of Virginia Beach called "20th Century" by Ken Ludwig. It was one of those manic Ludwig wonders. We laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes! It was perfectly cast and perfectly played and when the acting is THAT good by "non-professionals," you really have to wonder what they do in the "real world!"
What will the future hold for Class Act, my hubby's barbershop quartet bound for District Competition this weekend when they have just been advised that their bass will be moving to Florida by the end of November. They've all worked so hard and improvement has been noteworthy! I know this has come as a real shock to the other three! No one can be blamed for this sort of thing. It's life and stuff happens! I am, however, now stuck with approximately 800 business cards that have our current bass' name and photo on them! Makes me want to cry!
A rainy, gray, introspective sort of a day here at the tail-end of September. Time has truly flown this year and I can barely believe we are almost into the last quarter of the year! I love the fall and where I was not fond of the season as a youngster, I now revel in it. The heat and humidity of the summers here in dear old Virginia Beach are legendary! Our Autumn seasons are long, dry, and exceptionally beautiful. We don't get the super-brilliant leaf displays of New England, but it is amazingly lovely never-the-less!
I'm thinking this morning about the angst with which I used to face Monday mornings. They signified another draggingly-long work-week! Towards the end of my career, I almost had to KICK my unwilling posterior out of bed in the mornings, ESPECIALLY on Mondays! Have I mentioned that retirement is the best job I've ever had? The pay is dreadful, but everything else is marvelous! I have a friend that is "uncomfortable" with retirement. After only weeks, she went back to work part-time. NOT ME! I FINALLY know what I want to be when I grow up - RETIRED!
At long last, I've started the major "Reorganization of the Bedroom" project. It's been on the schedule for quite some time, but I've shoved it down to the bottom of my never-ending list repeatedly! I am not someone well-schooled in organization and my personality doesn't fit well within the very confined ideas of "THIS GOES HERE - THAT GOES THERE!" I like an environment that is less rigidly organized - however, I recently reached the stage of complete chaos. If the Big Bang theory is correct, I know WHERE it started! It will be an ongoing project for a week!
We have been watching the new Ken Burns series on the National Parks, America's Best Idea! What an amazing documentarian and historian he is! I believe that of all his projects, this is my favorite. We have been going to the National Parks since we were children. We brought our own children to them and watched the wonder in their faces as they gazed at scenery that surpassed anything their young eyes had ever seen! The first time that I headed out west to the Tetons and saw those absolutely vertical mountains rising from a flat plain, I was awestruck!
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