The week I went to the opera

Lawyer daughter and I went to see Aida in Vancouver.  We had a nice time together and the opera was good but not great. The presentation was traditional, the singing was good, the chorus was excellent. The tenor needed to spend more time at the gym. He didn’t have the physique of a war hero. The audience at intermission was almost as good a show as the performance. All ages were dressed in all sorts of stunningly peculiar get ups. There was lace and chiffon, leather and spandex, silk and fringe, beads, jewels, zippers, hip boots, spike heals, jeans and work shirts, head scarfs, berets and spiked hair. Lawyer daughter and I both wore black. I had bought box seats and we had a great view of both stage and audience. And we could see into the orchestra pit.

I tried to take some pictures of some of the more astonishing outfits, but the light was low, the flash delayed and I didn’t want to be too obvious about it. In the end this is all I got.

Dressed for the opera

And this:

Waiting for a drink

There was an art exhibit in the lobbies. I am in favor of experimentation in art, but I like it to have some attribute other than weirdness. I didn’t see anyone looking at it: felt constructions, mostly small in black, white or brown. I took a picture of one piece which at first I thought was an old coat someone had tossed down. That was a possibility considering some of the costumes of the patrons.

Sculpture in felt

Before the performance we ate dinner at a small French cafe. The food was only fair but I enjoyed chatting with the waiter, a New Zealander who came from the same small city, Pukekohe, where Jerry and I stay with my cousin.

Lawyer daughter likes to sleep in, so the next morning before leaving for home I took a walk in the rain to a coffee shop a couple of blocks from our hotel. A friendly lady in the shop gave me her newspaper, saying it was her way or recycling. I read a bit of it and thought it had a definitely right wing slant.

The week has not been easy. The law suit over Bert’s will continues. Bert’s estate is very complicated and Jerry spends lots of time filling out forms, and setting up estate accounts that may, in the end, have to be turned over to someone else.

I decided to clip the dogs to save the expense of the groomer and noticed that one of Fluffy’s testicles was enlarged and an odd shape. I took him to the vet and had him neutered. He has testicular cancer. Perhaps we got it in time; only time will tell.The vet said his teeth needed attention as well, and so while he was under anesthetic he had 7 teeth pulled out.  He was away over night in the veterinary hospital in town and Daisy was unusually subdued while he was absent. When our nice island vet, Bill, delivered him home to us yesterday Daisy wiggled and squeaked with pleasure. Noses touched, tails wagged and they are again inseparable. Fluffy has antibiotics and pain-killers every day for a while, and he has so few teeth left that he will have to eat soft food for the rest of his life. Poor doggy. But he is as cheerful as ever, full of energy.

Often it’s the small things in life that give pleasure. This week it was a small bird. For the first time I have had western tanagers at my feeder. What pretty little things they are.

Western Tanager

I saw a number of males, but only one female. Perhaps they are very shy, or perhaps they migrate separately.

Female Western Tanager

Speaking of birds at the feeder, last week I had an unusual visitor. Here he/she is: I think it’s a pygmy owl.

Pygmy Owl

Of course, it wasn’t interested in what the feeder had to offer. Perhaps it was searching for the chipmunk that is sometimes under the feeder. After a while it flew over to the fence.

Pygmy Owl?

And finally, while I am counting blessings, the garden is, I guess, a blessing. It requires a lot of physical work — probably good for an old woman and an old man — but we sat outside in it for the first evening of 2012 with our wine and listened to the news on the radio. The woods were full of birdsong. And there were flowers.

Delphinium and snapdragons

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9 Responses to The week I went to the opera

  1. I hope you have a nice Mother’s Day. I love watching the variety of birds we get here, and love seeing what types you have in your area. Art is a very subjective thing, isn’t it? (Of course, I mainly hear the art/photography debate in my circles.) Pretty flowers in your garden!

  2. I love your birds. The pygmie owl and the Western Tanager are not ones we will ever see, so I am very grateful for your photos.
    I find people watching a treat and would have been in my element in a box seat at the opera. What a treat.
    I am glad that you were able to sit outside and enjoy the garden. We will have snapdragons and delphiniums and pansies too – in six months time.
    I hope Bert’s will is sorted out soon. An incredibly stressful time for Jerry and for you.
    I hope that you did catch Fluffy’s cancer in time.

  3. Annie says:

    Nice bird pics! Love the tanagers. Hope Fluffy recovers nicely from his surgery. My experience with wills is that they take a long time at the best of times, I expect your experience with Bert’s will is not likely to set any records for speed. Hope you will find ways to deal with the stress of it all. Your garden must be lovely, a source of peace in the midst of unpleasantness.

  4. Hattie says:

    I’ll bet my take on your experiences would be the same as yours! We seem to be in some sort of period of postmodern decadence that strikes me as not being much fun.
    I hope all the problems of your BIL’s estate will work out. That is certainly a headache you could do without.
    Our dog had to have a lot of teeth pulled, too, but the ones he had remaining were strong enough for him to eat dry food anyway. He lived about a year after that, and eventually we put him down because he had a painful, unoperable cancer in his neck. He was a good boy, and I miss him.
    And Happy Mother’s Day!

  5. I’m thinking that looks an awful lot like a Cooper’s Hawk, one of the raptors that often turns up at my feeder.

  6. Brighid says:

    I agree with Loren…looks like a Cooper’s Hawk to these eyes…
    Sounds like you’ve been busy, and that’s always a good thing.
    Have a wonder filled week!

  7. Betty says:

    Oh my my Anne – how do you get those wonderful photos? not to mention the beautiful birds! They are made for you to paint. Canadians dressing like that for an Opera makes me cringe. Good luck to your Fluffy [and therefore to Daisy] from Josie and I. Hope you are living in the moment and taking good care of each other.

  8. Dick says:

    I’m not good with opera and your account of ‘Aida’ sort of reinforces my prejudices. I’m reminded of the Mark Twain judgement of golf as ‘a good walk spoiled’: I hate to see a half-decent play constantly interrupted by throbbing vocalisation. A prejudice, but one of the little lazy get-outs of age is the declaration that I’m too old to change now!

    Lovely bird pictures, Anne. Exotic breeds for me, watching the sparrows and tits in my Hertfordshire garden.

  9. Friko says:

    All in all quite a lot to be grateful for, Anne.
    People still dress up for the opera here, but then the seats are so expensive that only rich people can afford them (except for the Gods and last-minute reduced tickets). I used to go to dress rehearsals, which were for real opera lovers.You had to get up early for morning rehearsals. For me opera is the highest art form, it has everything, music and voices, drama, acting, costumes, drama, and did I say drama?

    Love your birds. so many of us spend hours watching them at the feeders it is a surprise to me that certain breeds seem to disappear more and more.

    Sorry about your dog, my Benno collapsed today; he slipped and couldn’t get his arthritic legs sorted out and the heat is bad for his old heart. My lovely boy isn’t long for this world, it breaks my heart to see him struggle.

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